Wave Riding – An old story
Jack O´Neill already achived wisdom: “Three important things in life: surf, surf, surf.”
Wave riding has become more and more popular with young people over the years, even if they don´t live close to the ocean. Trips to surfspots all over the world either to Europe, USA or Indo are a famous way to spend the holiday these days.
But only few people know that the sport of wave riding or surfing is about 4000 years old. The Polynesians distributed it in the south sea.
“Body-boarding” might have been the start in the development of surfing. You surf the wave without a board, only with your body. Later, the surfers (above all the Polynesians) started to lay, sit or knee on the board. In the following years the sport developed especially in Tahiti, where the people started to surf the waves standing on their boards. Wave riding was a sport for everybody – men, women and kids were attracted by the possibilities the ocean had to offer.
In times of the Polynesian colonization, wave riding made its way to the Marquesas-islands, New Zealand, Rapa, the Easter Islands and finally also to Hawaii. There surfing developed to the way we practice it today. The special meaning surfing had for the society was made clear by the fact that the bays with the biggest waves were not accessible for the “normal” population, only for Kings. In every year the Makahiki-festival was celebrated – the whole population had three month off to enjoy sports, dancing and delicious meals and again wave riding played a big role: Wave riding contests were carried out and attended by hundreds of visitors. Furthermore waveriding was and still is a national sport in Hawaii.
The beginning of the 19th century brought a crack in surfing history: the Christian religion was spreading and with it the suppression of the Hawaiian culture. In 1819 the Makahiki-festival was carried out for the last time and the heathen traditions were replaced by traditions of the Christian church. Also wave riding was regarded as useless and indecent (men and women were surfing together) and in 1823 it was finally forbidden.
When in 1908 the first Hawaiian surf club was found this was the beginning of a new and ongoing era spreading all over the world.
The lifestyle of wave riding is still fascinating many people and the breathtaking feeling of surfing a wave is celebrated within like-minded.