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Introduction to Surfing


As 1960's world champion surfer Mike Doyle pointed out in his autobiography Morning Glass, "The tradition of the waterman comes from Polynesia and is different from the tradition of the sailor. The waterman's skills include surfing, paddling, rowing, and rough-water swimming. He might also be skilled at diving, fishing , spear fishing, tandem surfing, lifeguarding, and handling outrigger canoes. But he isn't necessarily skilled at sailing or navigation. The difference is that a waterman focuses on the coastal waters, while the sailor's realm is the deep water. By reading about the early days of surfing, I learned that the watermen who came before me didn't just go to the dive shop or the surf shop and buy the latest thing on the rack. They designed their own boards, their own dive gear, and their own outrigger canoes. They were constantly thinking and experimenting with other watermen about ways to perfect their gear. Nobody knew then how a surfboard should be designed. The only way to find out what worked and what didn't was to try it."

Surfing Terms

Polynesian Roots & Surfing Culture

Peru & Early Surfing

African Roots of Surfing

Hawaii & Pacific Surfing

Father of California Surfing

Duke Kahanamoku

The Railroads & California Surfing

1934 - California Surfing

World War II & Surfing

Sam Reid

California Surfing Takes Form

Music, Literature & Surf Culture