An Overview of Surfing: Past to Present Essay

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Surfing is the act of someone paddling out into the ocean, catching a wave on a surfboard, standing up, and riding the length of that giant whitecap. Some people say it is the best feeling anyone can experience and always has been. The recreation of surfing has been around ever since the mid-eighteenth century. Now, it is not only a hobby for some people, but an extreme professional sport. Originating in Hawaii during the mid-eighteen hundreds, surfing has remained a way of life for most Hawaiians. Everyone from men to women, royalty to commoners, took part in the pastime. Early surfboards were made of solid wood, eight to ten feet long, two feet wide, three inches thick, and around 100 pounds. (Encyclopedia Britannica: Surfing …show more content…
Everything changed when Calvinist missionaries came to the islands. The Calvinist came to convert the natives from polytheism to Christianity. The missionaries disapproved of the constant intermingling, and viewed surfing as bad and without restraint of both sexes (Encyclopedia Britannica: Surfing History). They banned the pastime, enslaved the Hawaiians, and forced them to learn English and to give up many of their customs. During the nineteen-hundreds, Hawaii began to become a popular tourist destination, and surfing started to rise again as a favored pastime amongst the Hawaiian people. It began to become so popular that people in Southern California and Australia started to take up the hobby. One of the reasons for the outsider’s interest in surfing was the beginning of the mass production of surfboards. They were made of polyurethane and fiberglass making them more portable and lighter for surfers to carry. One of the most popular boards is the long board. The long board in usually around twelve feet long and two feet wide, making them easier to handle in the water. These boards are more common with riders who have less experience, or they are used on larger waves. Another popular board is the short board, commonly known as a “Fish”. This board is used by more experienced surfers and are six to six and half feet long, seventeen to nineteen inches wide, two inches thick. Surf cinema and magazines were also major contributors to the expansion of surfing.

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