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bishop museum  : surf boards, 1903 

Bishop Museum Handbook:  Surf Boards, 1903.

Brigham, William T.: Surf Swimming
A handbook for visitors to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
of Polynesian Ethnology and Natural History;
Prepared by William T. Brigham, director

Honolulu, 1903.
Hathi Trust

The Bishop Museum, Honolulu, maintains the largest collection of ancient surfboards.
Published in 1903, sections of the Handbook such as this one were consistently re-printed until 1915, see:
1915 Bishop Museum : Surfboards.

Brigham, William Tufts, 1841-1926. 

Page 82
Surf Swimming (Hee-Nalu)
The surf board was usually of koa, nearly flat with slightly convex surfaces, rounded at one end,
slightly narrowing toward the stern where it was cut square.

Sometimes the papa hee nalu was made of the very light a williwilli and then was narrow. 
In size they varied from three to eighteen feet in length, and from

Page 83

 eight to twenty inches in width,
but some of the ancient boards are said to have been four fathoms
The largest in this Museum stand in the porch, Nos. 297, 298, and are so heavy that they
require two men to move them, the smallest for children are on the ceiling of this alcove.

The finest model is No. 6809 on the ceiling of V. 
The surf riders swam out to sea as far as the kalana or place where the high rollers follow
each other in quick succession, and there mounted a high wave and rode on it until near
the beach in the hae where the water was smoother; the first one arriving at the hae won the race.

Standing on the larger boards as they shot in was by no means uncommon.
Men and women both took part in this delightful past time, which now has a sort of revival among
 the foreign youth and visitors to our beaches.
Page 80.

Fig, 39.
Coasting (Hee Holau)
A most dangerous but fascinating sport of sliding down a hill over a prepared course on a sled made for the purpose.
The holia or track was built with great care on some steep hill, sometimes six yards in width, made smooth and of even slope, and when covered with dry grass was very slippery.
The sled was built of hard, tough wood as shown in the rare specimen hanging over the entrance to this alcove, No. 320.
This is said to have belonged to the hero Lonoikamakahiki and was found in a burial cave in Puna during the reign of Kamehameha V, it is the only complete specimen known, although dfetached runners are not uncommon in museums.
The long runners (11.2 feet) are narrow like a Norwegian ski, were placed less than three inches apart and bound to a frame which the rider grasped and, running for an impetus, threw hitmself headlong down the hill.
This was an eminently aristocratic game prohibited to all below the alii.
Children coasted down grassy slopes as they still do on a buntlch of ki leaves
Below No. 320 hang the runners of a long sled, said to have belonged o Kahekili, king of Maui.
Another pair of runners is on the ceiling of V.

A handbook for visitors to the
 Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

of Polynesian Ethnology and Natural History;
Prepared by William T. Brigham, director

Honolulu, 1903.
Hathi Trust

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home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2017) : Bishop Museum Handbook : Surfboards, 1903.