Surfing is one of the oldest sports in the world. The art of riding waves blends human power and awareness of the beauty and power of nature. Surfing is also one of the few sports that creates its own culture and lifestyle.
The art of riding waves with wooden planks originated from the western Polynesian Islands more than three thousand years ago. Fishermen are the first to discover wave rides, which they consider to be an effective and very useful method of fishing. Finally, from a means of daily work, surfing was developed into a pastime. This change is a big revolution for surfing.
No record shows exactly when the specific surf became the official sport. However, as noted, in the 15th century, the king, queen and the people of the Sandwich Islands were enthusiastic about the sport called “he’enalu”. In the old Hawaiian language, “He’e” means a change from a solid state to a liquid state and “nalu” refers to the movement of waves. The first Polynesian settlers in Hawaii had very high surfing skills and after several hundred years of riding the waves, Hawaiians were famous for their own surfing.
Hawaiians affirmed their ability and reputation for surfing. For them, surfing is a cultural tradition. They developed boarding techniques, how to choose wood and beaches to do surfing as well as prayers. Surfboards must undergo many sacred rituals before being closed. Only three types of plants are selected for boarding. Panelists will dig up trees and they will put fish around the roots to worship the gods.
There are 4 types of boards used in ancient Haiwaii:
– Paipo or Kioe, the type of board is 2 to 4 feet long, reserved for children.
– Alaia (ah-LAI-ah) or omo (O-mo), medium board type is about 8 feet long or more.
– Kiko`o is bigger than Alaia but not the biggest, about 12 to 18 feet long, requiring skill to handle.
– Olo types of long boards ranging in size from 18 to 24 feet.