The history of surfing is believed to have originated in Western Polynesia over two thousand years ago. The first surfers were fishermen who discovered riding waves as an efficient method of getting their catch and themselves to shore. When the Polynesians first settled in Hawai`i in the fourth century A.D. surfing began to transform from work into a cultural past time.
While no one so far can solve the mystery of exactly when and where surfing first originated, the significance of surfing can be traced directly back to Hawai`i. For ancient Hawaiians, surfing was religion, and a large part of the Hawaiian social culture. Hawaiians believe that the sea has distinct moods and actions. Special Hawaiian priests, called Kahunas, would pray to the sea and perform ceremonies asking for perfect waves. Creating surfboards was also a religious ceremony in Hawaiian culture. Only three types of wood were suitable for crafting traditional surf boards. The largest and heaviest of surfboards were reserved strictly for Hawaiian royalty.
The first recorded accounts of recreational surfing in Hawai`i dates back to the late 1700′s. Surfing didn’t really become popular worldwide until the early to mid-1900′s when Duke Kahanamoku, born August 24, 1890, elevated the art, splendor and brought surfing to an international level of respect and interest. Duke, a three-time Olympic gold medal swimmer and world-class surfer, Duke succeeded in spreading surfing to the mainland U.S. and Australia. In the 50′s and 60′s, interest in surfing increased and with it, the surf explosion in the U.S., Hawai`i, and Australia. By the time the 70′s rolled around, surfing was not only a sport but had created its own culture, lifestyle and industry.
Warnings and Rating System
We have created a system similar to ski slope diamond ratings for familiarity for our users. Our system was created from advice from surfers, lifeguards, and expert watermen and risk analysis experts. We have rated the beaches and surf from personal experience, extensive research and travel.
Spots are marked by danger level and consideration for levels are based on factors that include, dangerous conditions, reefs, long paddles, riptides, entry and exit danger levels, proximity to emergency services and crowds.