noddway : rollo at waikiki, 1908.
"Now let us go surf riding like the Kanakas.
See, there's a heavy swell coming into the bay."
On reaching the cocoanut groves of the shore, they
a gray-headed Hawaiian, with an out-rigger canoe, about to start out fishing.
He supplied them with surf-boards and paddled them out to where the breakers were rolling the highest.
Two Kanaka boys, about twelve years of age, accompanied them.
"Why, the surf
boards are very much like my mother's ironing board," said Rollo.
"I always thought they were miniature canoes."
"We read in the
Bible," answered Russell, " 'A horse is a vain thing for safety.'
Well, I guess a surf-board beats a sea horse and all the other water craft for difficulty to handle.
Ah! there go the little heathens and Barney, too, plunk into the sea, and breast down on their boards.
Here's a big roller; it breaks! and they're off right in front of it!
By this time both
the boys and the old fisherman had divested themselves of their clothes,
which the latter tied up in a watertight calabash.
Just as the roller reached the canoe, he shouted: "Hoe! Hoe! Pa mai ke kai koo !" ("Paddle furiously! the big breaker is upon us !")
Rollo and Russell
bent to their paddles to keep the canoe's bow toward shore, while old Kalani
sat steering and paddling as if for dear life.
It was an exciting race.
The little brown savages and Barney kicked their legs high up, and rode down the breast of the big foaming breaker for many hundred feet.
Then all hands turned in, to bailout the canoe, which was half full of the brine which had overflowed the gunwales.
"Now, we'll try it ourselves and 'astonish the natives,' "cried Rollo.
The boys were
good swimmers, and soon took their places on the surf-boards before the
But in a twinkling it rolled them over and over, and bumped them several times on the sand.
When Barney and Kalani hoisted them into the canoe by the legs, they were very glad to return to their natural element.
Rollo, "the delights of this surf-riding are not quite what they are cracked
up to be.
I'm thinkng that being run through a thrashing machine would be almost as jolly."
"I'm with you,
Surf-riding may be a mighty good thing in the abstract, but excuse me from the concrete, particularly this sharp coral concrete. When youv'e been thumped several times on a coral rock, and swallowed a quart of brine (more or less), the poetry of the thing disappears.
But, wasn't it glorious to see those little Kanaka rats beat the big canoe in the race ?"
An hour later found them at the gate to the grounds of the Hawaiian Hotel, where Mr. Hadley met them.
Rollo in Hawaii.
Thompson and Thomas, Chicago, 1908.