When we see a surfer on his board "plundering" waves, we have no awareness that we are observing the practice of one of the oldest sports and organized the world.
Surfing dates back to before the Middle Ages. The people of Polynesia have been found since then, its beaches, surfing and making championships. Championships on the other hand, with a range of religious and social connotations, and in these bets was customary among the natives for their favorite surf stars.
On occasion, the surf was used as "mourning" for whatever reason, usually loving, a native challenged another to catch waves in the surf riskier.
The songs and oral histories that have been passed from generation to generation is all that remains of these early centuries of practice of the sport as old a part of the paintings and drawings carved in volcanic stone. Later, already in the eighteenth century, the early writings are speaking of surf, were generally descriptions of sailors like Captain James Cook. Cook described in his diary "the curious aquatic exercise, working out on wooden boards natives ..." which called it "CHOROEE".
The surf was so deeply linked to society, that when the waves appeared, work, family, etc ... remained in the background, the only thought for those cabalgadores wave was the "choroee". Temples were built (HEYAU), in which he prayed for the surf and left offerings. Even the "KAHUMA" (sorcerer of the tribe) prayed for good waves when these did not appear. One of the oldest temples was called KUEMAN (descito by archaeologist John Francis Grey Stokes between 18,761,960), this temple was established by a sort of stand for spectators and a pool where surfers swam after a day of surfing .
After the death of Cook, James King, speaking also in his writings on surfing. They explain the "favorite pastime" of the Hawaiians, discusses the maneuvers "amazing and dangerous" hard to believe if not watched. Dozens of adventurers, missionaries and writers who traveled to the islands, also spoke of it.
But gradually they came, along with people, who admired the sport, missionaries, Christians saw in the practice of social phenomena that sport decidedly "non-Christians." Exacerbated the religious connotations, social and sexual (by practicing naked or semi-) having the sport, along with the party, gambling and its influence on romantic relationships (dual), getting to qualify as "immoral" to those who practiced it. From that moment the surf and dance "Hula" were harshly suppressed. As if this were not enough, the population was decimated further with the arrival of "foreigners" (new diseases, social, etc ...). All this contributed to surfing was becoming more scarce.
Years after this "low blow" dealt to surfing, Hawaiian emerged intellectual circles, that go to collect their own history were found in the events of each day, both practical and mythological, surfing was present at all times . One of the intellectual (John Papa Li 180 070), wrote in great detail about the different types of wood that were used in the construction of tables and variety of forms depending on the adopted wave that could ride.
But despite this new resurgence, until it appeared writings of famous authors "foreigners" outside the borders of Hawaii, do not focus attention on other parts of the world. The writer Jack London was one of the most influential in his book "A Royal Sport: Surfing at workiki" as well as the writings made on "Brown Mercury", surfer, half Hawaiian and half Irish which led to the invitation to surf california , for the first demonstration of the surf outside the boundary of Hawaii. George Freeth ("Brown Mercury") remained twelve years in California and taught dozens of people to surf for the first time Hawaiian style. Freeth died young, it is said that because of his extensive work as a lifeguard at the popular beaches in California. In its report was made a bronze bust located in Redondo Beach, whose plaque says the following legend: "The first surfer in the U.S.. States." "The young man which he received the last art of Polynesia: Surf".
Another important name in the resurrection and spread of surfing, Duke was Kahanawoku. While Freeth was in California, Duke and others created in Waikiki surf club "Hui Nalu" being at that time the first of its kind. Separately, Duke was invited to visit Australia, particularly Fresh Water, a beach north of Sydney to give surf lessons and build a table. This happened in 1915. This call Duke was due to his newfound fame achieved in 1912 as Olympic swimming champion. Duke in Australia made famous by the table that he built with redwood that helped the birth of modern surfing, this table is in the Australian surf club was established at the time.
But while surfing in nuesrtros days has been a great rise and spread throughout the world, have not returned these days when surfing was intimately linked with the life of every day, interacting closely with religion, society and feelings. Anyway, something special has been passed between practitioners of the sport, feeling at home and surfing is more than just a sport, mixing inner feelings and nature, solitude and crowds, internal forces and universal forces. These surfers of the twentieth century continue feeling inside, like the first Polynesians dedication and obsession sometimes even "irrational" when at sea blunt those waves.