helen mather : surf riding in hawai'i, 1891
Waikiki is noted
as a bathing resort, and it is indeed an ideal bathing place.
The dark waves dash foam-tipped
against the outer reef, while within, the calm, pure water glides gently over a sandy floor, where the bathers disport themselves.
Here, of old,
it is said, the natives were wont to indulge in their aquatic sports.
Clad only in their malos, a piece of cloth wrapped about their
loins, with their
sea sledges, they would go boldly out to meet the incoming breakers, and
when the huge mountain of water seemed about to overwhelm them, they would
deftly dive beneath it, and, rising to the surface beyond, would poise
crest, and reclining, or kneeling, and even standing upon the sledge, would sweep shoreward with the speed of the
wind, shouting, and clapping their hands with glee.
Those who succeeded received their meed of praise and applause, and those who failed were greeted with jeers and laughter. This competition must have created the race of lithe and graceful Tritons which Captain Cook found.
These sports are still in vogue, I am , although I have not seen them.
One Summer in Hawaii.
Cassell Publishing Company, New York,1891.