The Long and Colourful History of Surfing

Have you ever wondered how surfing started? If so, you have come to the right place, as we take a close look into the origins and the history of Australia’s favourite water sport. Did someone suddenly decide to stand on a piece of wood in the ocean? Read on for an insight into the origins of surfing.

Earliest evidence

The earliest evidence of surfing comes from cave paintings in 12th-century Polynesia, which show people standing on wooden boards and riding the waves. Some say that this might have been imagination, yet these depictions were discovered in several locations, which makes it far more likely to be a description of an activity. Of course, in those days, they didn’t have the amazing Rip Curl wetsuits that are perfect for surfing.

Polynesian culture

From around the late 11th century, Polynesian islanders were adept at travelling between islands; they were even able to navigate using the stars. Canoes and rafts were constructed from bamboo and coconut trees, which were lashed together with special roots and due to the many islands, the Polynesian people possessed amazing water abilities, with the oceans providing most of their diet. Click here for a comprehensive report on full spectrum CBD oil.

Captain Cook and his written accounts

In the mid-18th century, Captain Cook and his crew witnessed Tahitians surfing waves on planks of wood, which he wrote about in his diaries. It is believed that the chief selection process included prowess at surfing, which made for heavy competition; Cook and his crew noticed that the local really enjoyed their surfing according to this diary entry,

“I could not help concluding, that this man felt the most supreme pleasure, while he was driven on, so fast and so smoothly, by the sea.”

Hawaii – The surfing capital of the world

When European settlers first arrived in Hawaii, surfing was frowned upon, but the locals refused to stop riding the waves. Christianity came with the settlers and priests tried hard to deter the locals from surfing, but such was its popularity, the die-hard locals refused to quit their loved hobby. Of course, as transportation developed, more visitors came to Hawaii, including Mark Twain, a famous author who was fascinated by surfing; it is believed he was responsible for spreading the word about surfing to the corners of the world. This obviously inspired people from other parts of the world to try this new sport for themselves and Californians definitely liked the idea of riding those huge Pacific Ocean waves.

20th century tourism

When the jet aircraft age arrived post-WW2, Hawaii quickly became a top holiday destination and this caused surfing to grow exponentially. In the 1950s, a man by the name of Jack O’Neill invented the wetsuit, which was perfect for protecting surfers from the cold Pacific Ocean water and it was in the 60s that surfing really took off in the US.

Surfing is as popular today as it was 50 years ago and if you are planning a surfing holiday, don’t forget to hire a wetsuit.