wilkes : us expedition,
Charles Wilkes : Narrative
of U.S. Expedition, 1833-1842.
the U. S. Exploring Expedition during the Years 1833-1842.
Volume IV, pages
to 47, 54, and 207.
Volume V, page 100.
the lack of sports amongst native Hawaiians in Volume IV, which
to the influence of Christian missionaries (page 54) but
surf-riding still retains its attraction.
The report from
the Kingsmill Group (Volume V, page 100) demonstrates that the
use of the
surfboard was widespread across the Pacific.
In the 19th
the Kingsmill Islands applied to all of the Gilbert Islands, it
only to the southern group.
most probably observed the islanders surfing, it is possible
that his accounts may have been supplemented from other sources
narrative, for which he (Wilkes) claimed copyright,
often without acknowledgement, from the journals of his
were lifted from earlier writers to pad out the histories of
Allen: South by Northwest- The Magnetic Crusade and the
1 Parade West, Kent Town, South Australia, 2006, pages 133 and
KAUAI AND OAHU, 1840.
they never, if they could avoid it, subjected themselves to
get out of
sight of land, and were never so except by accident.
this to be the case, they made use of the heavenly bodies, if
and being accurate observers of the weather and atmospheric
were enabled to find their way back again; for the various
changes of weather
about the Hawaiian Islands, and the appearance these changes
in the clouds over and in the vicinity of the land, afforded
them a sure
it is supposed that but few persons have been lost, by being
sailing off (through mistake) from the land.
however, have arisen, from the frailty and smallness of their
their good management of them was proverbial (?),
Of late, and
since they have possessed foreign vessels, they have lost much
they manage after their own way, and although many have been
lost by wreck
on the islands, I did not hear of any having been blown off.
anecdotes were told me of their negligence and inability to
during the night.
They are quite
fearless on the water; all swim, and have little fear of loss
of life by
as much at home in the water as on land, and many of them more
instances of their patience under this kind of fatigue, were
One of them,
which happened the year of our arrival, is well authenticated,
also tend to show very great attachment and endurance in the
As the Hawaiian
schooner Kiola, commanded by an American
who was married to Kaiha, a female chief, was going to
Hawaii, having on
board many passengers, on getting into the straits between
Maui and Hawaii
the schooner foundered, and all on board, forty-five in
number, were obliged
to take to swimming for safety.
swim but little, but his wife was quite expert in the art;
came to his aid, placed him on an oar, and swam for the
occurred on Sunday about noon, when she with many others
began to swim
for the nearest land, which was Kahoolawe.
to support her husband until Monday morning, when he died
and she did not succeed in reaching the shore until that
She clung to
him to the last, at the imminent risk of her own life, and
was thirty hours
in the water; she was met by some fishermen on landing, who
of, and brought her back to Maui.
motive for industry, they expend their physical energies in
of the chiefs was sliding down hill on a long narrow sled:
this was called
holua; it was not unlike our boys' play, when we have
The sled was
made to slide on one runner, and the chiefs prostrated
themselves on it.
For this sport
they had a trench dug from the top of a steep hill and down
to a great distance over the adjoining plain.
quite smooth, and having dry grass laid on it, they were
great velocity down it, and, it is said, were frequently
carried a half,
and sometimes a whole mile.
and the plain of Waikiki was one of these localities for this
Playing in the
surf was another of their amusements, and is still much
It is a
sight to see them coming in on the top of a heavy roller,
borne along with
increasing rapidity until they suddenly disappear.
What we should
look upon as the most dangerous surf, is that they most
which they use
is about six
feet in length and eighteen inches wide, made of some light
passed within the surf, they are seen buffeting the waves, to
outside, whence they again take their course, with almost the
an aerial flight.
They play for
hours in this way, never seeming to tire; and the time to see
happy, is while he is gambolling and frolicking in the surf.
I have stood
for hours watching their sport with great interest, and, I
must say, with
no little envy.
I was much
with the absence of sports among the boys and children.
On inquiry, I
learned that it had, after mature deliberation and experience,
advisable by the missionaries to deprive them of all their
rather than allow them to occupy their minds with any thing
recall old associations.
is, that the Hawaiian boys are staid and demure, having the
of old men.
I cannot doubt
that they possess the natural tendency of youth towards
but the fear of offending keeps a constant restraint over
It might be
perhaps, to introduce some innocent amusements; and indeed I
has been attempted, for I occasionally saw them flying kites.
The native games
formerly practised were all more or less those of hazard,
gave them their principal zest.
occurred to the launch, while watering, during our stay. Mr.
who had charge of her, was passing out of the Wailuku river,
off the point
of which the boat entered the breakers, and a heavy roller
being heavily laden with water, she sunk, and drifted out,
who were in her in danger of drowning.
could not swim, but a native came at once to his assistance,
would do nothing until he was promised two dollars, which of
course a drowning
man was not long in doing, when he acted promptly and rescued
In order to
the native a lesson as to his conduct in demanding money in
such a situation,
he was told that he would have received twice as much if he
had not made
It is due,
to this fellow to say, that in all probability he never
was any danger of loss of life; for if these people are at
home any where,
it is certainly in the surf, enjoying as a pleasure what we
from our want
of knowledge and confidence in the art of swimming, consider
OF THE KINGSMILL ISLANDERS, 1841.
Group consists of fifteen islands, of which the geographical
have been already given in speaking of them separately.
other amusements: among them foot-ball, sailing small
in the surf, and flying kites.
made of the pandanus-leaf reduced to half its thickness,
it lighter than paper; and they are prettily shaped.
the surf, they have a small board like that used by the
the U. S. Exploring Expedition during the Years 1833-1842.
Volume IV and
Geoff Cater (2010-2018) :
: Narrative of U.S. Expedition, 1845.