Aloha! Surf’s up, readers!
As most of us know here in Hawai’i, the winter season brings some of the biggest swells of all year, and large swells from the North, West an
d North-West are common on the North Shore. It’s a guaranteed Christmas gift for the surf community!
And how fortunate
are all of us to have the Polynesians, including the Hawaiians, be the pioneers of this sport/art/lifestyle? Their ingenuity in harnessing the power of the ocean has brought joy and entertainment to millions and millions of people worldwide.
While today surfing has become its own industry and culture, it is always fascinating to discover the origins and roots of something that has become a fixture in the culture of our world.
“Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past,” by John R. K. Clark, does just that. In his excellently-researched book, Clark provides us with a unique view of the early days of surfing as told by primarily native Hawaiians who wrote for the Hawaiian-language newspapers of the 1800s. The articles compiled within are transcribed in both Hawaiian and English! His writing and research skills bring a whole new depth of understanding and appreciation to what made surfing what it is today.
Clark covers all the varieties of surfing: board surfing, canoe surfing, bodysurfing, sand sliding, and river surfing. Who knew there were so many!?
We learn all about traditional Hawaiian surfing, traditional Hawaiian surf sports, and the many traditional surf sites for every island (yes, even including Kaho’olawe).
Also included is a wonderfully compiled glossary of English-Hawaiian surfing terms, and an easy-to-use index which links all the key points.
If you are a surfer (or love/know a surfer) a historian (or think surfing is cool), or a person interested in Hawaiian culture.
Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.