When we talk about surfing, we talk about technique, experience, boldness, and innovative maneuvers. Ask any surfer what they get by indulging into this sport, and their answer would be sheer Joy and Happiness because that’s what matters the most. It is estimated that there are over 20 million participants worldwide. Surfing has become one of the most thrilling sports in the world, and there are various surfing competitions as well. But has it always been the same? To find the answers and to help you understand its history, we will have to look back at how surfing culture has grown and changed over the last few decades.
How did Surfing begin?
Many believe surfing originated in Hawaii, and it was the sport of island royalty and the elite. But this may not be completely true. While tracing back, surfing is found to be spread by Polynesian migrants from Indonesia travelling all the way to Hawaii. More than a recreational activity or sport, surfing was a way used by the Polynesian fishermen to return to shore while riding the waves on a wooden board. So, it may be hard to find where and when the first activity of surfing took place, but we can surely say that surfing dates way back than we can think of.
How Has Surfing Evolved?
Surfing has witnessed a complete evolution. Today, it is seen as one of the most transformed forms of sports and is spectacled to be a billion-dollar industry. But it has not always been the same. With more people visiting Hawaii during the 18th century, surfing started going into a major decline. Towards the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, some good news was on the way. The stage was set for the revival of surfing.
Rise of Surfing across the world
It was always associated with the native people of Hawaii. But how did it spread all over the world?
A Hawaiian diver, Duke Kahanamoku, showed the Australian people how it’s done. And soon, surfing started getting popular in Australia during 1914-15, and then to the whole world. And now lovers of this water sport can be found almost everywhere. While there are many dedicated spots for surfing, some are known to be a surfers’ paradise such as surfing in the Mentawai Islands or Fiji or Hawaii. Surfers are everywhere. Many are experiencing it for the first time yet falling in love with such thrilling and blissful activity. To many, it is also a journey of self-discovery as it brings surfers together as a cultural group where they compete against themselves and the waves.
How has the Surfboard Design Changed?
Nowadays, you would find all sorts of advanced surfboards integrated with state of the art technology, but there weren’t many good quality surfing instruments earlier. The original boards were made out of thick, solid wood and may weigh up to 175 pounds. Duke Kahanamoku, also dubbed as the father of modern surfing, used a traditional 16ft longboard. The maintenance of these surfboards was as difficult as carrying and riding them. Because of the difficulty, it didn’t have a broader fan base. Continuous experiments have resulted in the invention of lighter boards, encouraging more people to try their hands on surfing. They have seen drastic reduction and transformation in terms of their shape and size.
The Modern Surfboards
Plenty of features and advantages have been added to the boards to make surfing as smooth and safe as possible. There is even a rise in electric surfboards that lets you throttle automatically. Across the world, this sport continues to witness massive adoption and is growing multifold in popularity. Surfers always look at ways to enhance and boost their performance. You would find a variety of surfboards suited for all conditions. Depending upon the intensity of the waves and the areas where you are surfing, the surfboards have been designed and more are being created to allow more challenging surf. Modern boards come fitted with many features including sensors to track the speed, height, distance, and many more. It will continue to grow in the coming years. Surfers keep experimenting with new shapes and sizes to ease their surfing maneuvers. Today, you would find some of the best surfboards.
Final Word: Surfers strive to explore new avenues and set new benchmarks all over the world. It promotes values such as spirituality, equality, and freedom. Today surf culture has set new standards and is believed to continue to grow exponentially. So, if you are someone who is considering trying the sport, then there is never a more favorable time to do it than now. Go for it!