francis : surf riding at waikiki, 1882
Hawaiians, like most of the natives of the Pacific islands, are famous bathers and swimmers.
boards made from the bread-fruit tree, is quite a national
sport, and very
exciting in rough weather.
Having swum out to some distance with these boards under their arms, they ride over the breakers on them towards the shore, generally lying face downwards, but the most expert bathers kneel, or even stand up on their boards, mounting each roller at the right moment, so as to keep exactly on its curl.
They are also wonderful divers.
PITCAIRN'S ISLAND, AND THE MARQUESAS
of the Marquesas Islands are splendid swimmers, and pass a
great deal of
their time in the water, splashing and diving about.
Among the Typees canoes were tabooed to women, so if they wanted to get from one place to another, they were forced to swim.
The mothers put their babies into the water soon after they are born, and let go of them for a minute or two at a time, and by being launched in this manner, like little ducks, they soon swim of their own accord.
Of course, the water is very nice and warm in this part of the world, so that it is only like being put into a large warm bath, which babies always like, and not at all the same thing as being plunged into the cold rough sea by a bathing-woman in England, which they certainly don't enjoy.
The Isles of the Pacific:
or, Sketches from the South Seas
London, Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1882.