The islanders have many athletic games and exercises, to which they are much devoted, and which they pursue with an avidity sharpened by their love of gambling.
Their favourite amusement, however, is to ride the heavy surf, which continually beats upon the shore.
"For this amusement,
a plank of light wood, eight or ten feet long, two feet broad, and three
or four inches thick in the middle, decreasing to a sharp edge at the sides,
and ends - which are rounded - and having the whole surface finely polished,
is necessary; and forms an article of personal property, among all the
chiefs, male and female, and among many of the common people.
With this under their arm, they leave the shore, and wade or swim into the surf.
On meeting a roller, they dive under it with their board, to prevent being carried back by its power; and, thus make their wa\ beyond the reef, to the smooth surface of the sea - at Lahaina - a quarter of a mile from the beach.
They then wait the approach of a heavy wave, place themselves at full length, flat upon the board, with the face downward, and the head and chest elevated above the forward end, headed for the shore.
In this attitude they take the breaker, mount upon its crest as it towers above the reef, and with the arms and feet skilfully keep their poise in the swell, so as not to be sufficiently forward to be overwhelmed by its coming, nor so far behind as to lose its impetus; and are thus hurried, with the velocity of a racer, on the rolling summit - their erect heads only appearing above the foam - till they are cast on the beach, or slip from the board, in time to escape striking upon the sand.
"They then make
their way out again, and return in the same manner.
Hundreds, at a time, have been occupied in this way for hours together; while the waves are breaking upon the reef, apparently twenty and thirty feet high.
Riding upon the surf, in a canoe, in a similar manner, is also a common and favourite amusement."
Volume 1 Number 4 by Robert Smith
A Religious and Literary Journal.
Published Weekly by John Richardson
Corner of Carpenter and Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 26 July 1828.