Making of America Books.
From Punch Bowl
Hill, there is a charming view of the city and bay which lie in green,
and white, and gold, at its foot.
At Cocoanut Grove, you may have a gallop on the beach, and see the surf-bathers, who, kneeling on one knee upon a long pointed board, will ride back and forth upon the surf, hours at a time, for your amusement.
Making of America Books.
The Melanasian Mission
VISIT TO NORFOLK ISLAND.
" Coming home, one beautiful evening, I met some girls going down to the jetty to see fish which had been caught this calm day. It was a pretty sight, indeed, in the brief twilight, the gay-looking fish lying on the stones, the water, where the great waves were not rolling furiously in, coloured by the glowing sky. Some of my companions longed to jump in. ' What, into those great breakers?' ' That's the fun,' whispered a young girl at my side. At Pitcairn's, it seems, ' the fun ' was to swim out to sea, pushing a surf-board before you, and then to come gaily back with it on the top of a huge roller. ' You can swim ?' asked a delicate-looking youug mother of me, as we stood together ; and when I owned my ignorance, the compassionate, half-contemptuous tone of her reply was very funny. Men, women, and children here take to the water like so many ducks. The girls think it a great pity that I, who am ' such a seafaring lady,' do not know how, and offer to teach me. ' You should soon learn from me,' said one, a noble-looking creature, reported, I could believe justly, to be the best swimmer of the party. These fine days promote a great desire for bathing. It would be pleasant before the sun was so hot as to blister them, which it seems it did dreadfully at Pitcairn's in the Christmas holidays ; and no wonder, as they were chiefly spent in the water. Fortunately they were short, as, for six hours at a time, would these mermaids remain in, with their surf-boards, swimming races. The great piece of fun was for one to keep possession of a rock in the middle of Bounty Bay, whence the rest would try to pull her down, and whence she would fling them off into the water. It sounded almost cool and brilliant, and as if they ought all to have been named ' Undine.'
A Christmas tree would be rather poor after this sport.
THE JOURNAL OF MR. BINGHAM, WHILE AT ATOOI.
10. (July 1821)
The king's company, that is, his wife Tapoolee and particular friends,
Kaneo and her attendants, spent much of the day in decorating themselves
with a kind of temporary ornaments, which they call "Laualla beads;" and
in a favorite amusement of playing in the surf, of which a pretty good
description is given in "Trtinibiill's Voyages."
All engage in it, without distinction of rank, age, or sex; and the whole nation is distinguished by their fondness for the water, and the dexterity and facility with which they manage themselves iu that element.
The Surf-board and the manner it it used.
or the instrument used in playing in the surf, is of various dimensions,
from three feet in length, and eight inches in breadth, to fourteen feet
in length and twenty inches in breadth.
It is made of light wood, thin at the edges and ends, but of considerable thickness in the middle, wrought exceedingly smooth, and ingeniously adapted to the purpose of gliding rapidly on the water.
The Islander, placing himself horizontally on the board, and using his arms as oars, paddles out into the sea, meeting the successive surges, as they roll along towards the shore.
If they are high, he dives under them, if they are low, or smooth, he glides over them with ease, till he is ready to return, or till he gains the smooth sea beyond where the surf breaks.
Then choosing one of the highest surges, adjusting his board as it approaches him, directing his head towards the shore, he rides on the fore front of the surge, with great velocity, as his board darts along swifter than a weaver's shuttle, while the Whitening surf foams and roars around his head, till it dies on the beach, and leaves him to return or retire at pleasure.
Often, several of them run at the same time, as in a race, and not unfrequently on a wager.
The board moves as down an inclined plain, and the art lies principally in keeping it in its proper position, giving it occasionally an accelerating stroke with the hands, so that it shall not lose the propelling force of the wave, and thus fall behind it; or Retarding it with the foot, when liable to shoot forward too fast.
Sometimes the irregularity or violence of the water tears their board from under them, and dashes it on the rocks; or threatening to carry them into danger, obliges them to abandon it, and we themselves by diving and swimming.