torrey : surf-board riding, waikiki, 1837
William Torrey :
Surf-Board Riding, Waikiki, 1837.
Torrey, William: Torrey's Narrative; or, The life and adventures of William Torrey, who
... was held a captive by the cannibals of the Marquesas Press of A. J. Wright, Boston,1848.
shipped on board the Huntress, Capt.Post,
sailing from New Bedford in August 1832 on a whaling voyage to
the Pacific, arriving at the large island of Hawaii in October
After sailing to Peru, the Galapagos, the Society Islands
(Tahiti) and Japan, the Huntress returned to the
Sandwich Islands in April and departed from Honolulu in
AS well as his detailed description of surf-riding at Waikiki,
Torrey was aboard one of several longboats that towed the Potomac
from Honolulu harbour to gain the wind, and on their return some thought to
try the surf (in the manner of the local
outrigger canoes), but several boats were upset,
and the men were thrown upon the reef, and much bruised. Title Page
Who for the space of 25 months,
within the years 1835, '36 and '37, was held a captive
by the cannibals of the Marquesas
(A group of islands in the South Sea) among whom he was
cast from the wreck of
the Brig Doll, Capt. -------, of Otaheite, of which
wreck himself, and one shipmate, can alone tell the sad
tale. Also, for
many years served in the several capacities requisite
for seamen, on both English and American Merchants'
Written by Himself. Illustrated
with Engravings of his own Sketches.
When the Potomac left the harbor, she was towed by
a number of boats within the influence of the sea breeze,
when, giving three cheers which were answered, she made
sail, and was soon out of sight.
On our return to the harbor, some thought to try the surf,
which is sometimes performed in canoes, but usually on
what is termed a surf-board, which is an article of
private property among the higher classes, both male and
female, and to some extent among the common people.
This is a board of six or eight feet in length, and from
to twenty inches wide, rounded down to an edge; the whole
surface being made very smooth.
With this under the arm, they repair to the water,
and swim into the surf.
As they meet a roller, as it is called, or wave, they
plunge beneath, and let it pass over.
Thus they proceed to any desired distance; sometimes to
half a mile out into the open sea, and wait the approach
of a heavy swell, when they throw themselves upon the
board with the face downwards, having the head and body
elevated above the board,
and headed for the shore.
They skillfully keep themselves upon the swell with their
feet and arms, and are borne with the greatest
velocity upon its foaming crest, with their heads alone
visible above the foam.
As they near the shore, they usually slip from the board,
to prevent being thrown upon the sand by the surf.
This is repeated for hours in succession, and hundreds may
many times be seen together riding upon the waves, when
break high above the coral reefs.
Four or five of the boats in trying it upset, and the men
were thrown upon the reef, and much bruised.
We left the harbor of Honolulu about the first of August,
1837, bound for the coast of California.
William: Torrey's Narrative; or, The life and adventures of William
who ... was held a captive by the cannibals of the
Marquesas Press of A. J.