If you are a surfer or simply someone who is currently contemplating to learn how to surf, then you might be interested in understanding the history of surfing itself to give you more depth about this ancient and challenging sport. While modern surfing only became mainstreamed and more well-known in the early 20th century, thanks to the effort of a Native Hawaiian Olympic swimmer named Duke Kahanamoku who incorporated the sport into his international swimming exhibitions, surfing has become a common sport in Hawaii since the ancient times.
One of the earliest known record of the history of surfing is one written by Joseph Banks, a botanist on HMS Endeavour sailing from Plymouth in 1776. Banks described a sport known by the Hawaiian natives as he’enalu, where they would ride waves using boards, referred by Banks as “canoes”, made from tree planks. He’enalu roughly translates to English as “wave sliding”, and was treated more than just a sport or a hobby but with a reverence akin to one given as a ritual, with spiritual ceremonies often involved in the construction of the surfboards and prior to the surf itself.
Modern surfing, however, gains prominence thanks to the help of popular culture. The release of the biopic Gidget, as well as the rise of the surf rock genre popularized by groups such as Surfaris and Beach Boys, helped greatly in boosting the popularity of this sport in the early 1960s to 1990s.The creation of the shortboard in the late 1960s, which greatly helped professional surfers getting a high performance surfing, as well as the rise of many professional surfers in the 1990s, bring surfing into the realm of mainstream sport as we know it. It is now a popular sport worldwide, and it will be an official Olympic sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.