It’s Saturday, June 20, 2020. Today marks the official beginning of Summer Solstice, the world has began to change for the better and what better way to celebrate all this positive alignment than with miniature history lesson to commemorate International Surfing Day? Close this and just go surfing, but since we have you here's a quick tidbit to pair with your morning coffee.
The riding of waves has likely existed since humans began swimming in the ocean. In this sense, bodysurfing is the oldest type of wave-catching. Standing up on what is now called a surfboard is a relatively recent innovation developed by the Polynesians. The influences for modern surfing can be directly traced to the surfers of pre-contact Hawaii.
The art of surfing, known as heʻe ʻana in the Hawaiian language, was recorded by Joseph Banks aboard the HMS Endeavour during the first voyage of the James Cook, on the ship's stay in Tahiti.
Surfing was a central part of ancient Polynesian culture and predates European contact. The chief (Ali'i) was traditionally the most skilled wave rider in the community with the best board made from the best wood. The ruling class had the best beaches and the best boards, and the commoners were not allowed on the same beaches, but they could gain prestige by their ability to ride the surf on their boards.
So next time you paddle out. Channel your inner Ali’i and have some fun!