The History of Surfing

Surfing was a central part of ancient Polynesian culture. The art of surfing, called he’enalu in the Hawaiian language, was first observed by Europeans in 1767, by the crewmembers of the Dolphin at Tahiti. It was also common in Samoa and Tonga.

In 1907, George Freeth, the father of modern surfing, who was half-Hawaiian and half Irish, was brought to California from Hawaii to demonstrate surfboard riding. Freeth surfed at the Huntingdon Beach pier and travelled up and down the coast demonstrating surfing and lifeguard skills.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, Hawaiians living close to Waikiki began to revive surfing, and soon re-established surfing as a sport and Duke Kahanamoku helped expose surfing to the world.

He took surfing to Australia in 1915 and demonstrated the technique in Sydney, New South Wales. Duke Kahanamoku’s Board is now on display at the Freshwater Surf life saving club, in Sydney.

Surfing became popular in three main centres: Hawaii, Australia and California. Southern California beach culture exploded in the 1960s and formed most of the world’s first ideas of surfing and surfers.

Surfing continued to grow in popularity and Kelly Slater “the Michael Jordan of surfing” made his mark in the 1990s.


~ by lucasurf on June 25, 2010.

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