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george brown : surf riding in samoa, 1910 

George Brown   : Surf Riding in Samoa, 1910.

Brown, George:
Melanesians and Polynesians; their life-histories described and compared
B. Blom, New York, (1908) 1972.
Hathi Trust

Brown also records surfboard riding in:
George Brown, D.D. Pioneer-missionary and explorer, an autobiography, a narrative of forty-eight years' residence and travel in Samoa, New Britain, New Ireland, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Charles H. Kelly,
London, [1908?], page 125 and page 130.

Page 341
The Samoans were not very fond of foot-racing or leaping, but canoe- and boat-racing were very popular; in fact, no two canoes or boats could be long together without having a race.
Swimming is an acquired art, but is learned very early in life.
A mother will take her child into the water when quite young, and the child very soon begins to swim.
Some of the bush people, it is said, do not know how to swim.
This may have been true in early days,

Page 342

but I have never seen a Samoan who could not do so.
They always swim with the side stroke, and when making a spurt they often throw both arms out of the water alternately.
They are able to swim great distances.
I have known of a woman who was running away from her husband who swam from Apolima to Savaii, some seven miles.
They are good divers, and can remain some time under water.
A favourite sport in rough weather was that of surf- riding (faasee).
This was sometimes done in canoes just inside the reef.
The occupant waited until a suitable roller came, on which the canoe was shot with great speed for a considerable distance.
At one place where I often stayed I witnessed some exciting surf-riding by the natives of that town, who were celebrated for their proficiency in the art.
The shore consisted of immense boulders, on which the waves dashed in stormy weather with great violence.
The natives used to swim for a considerable distance out to sea, diving through the rollers until they reached the outer line of the breakers; they would then wait until some very large roller came, and, throwing themselves in the crest of it, would be shot with great speed to the beach, shouting out a peculiar cry with great glee.
Just before the wave dashed on the boulders, they would turn somersault and dive into the surf, and swim out again to repeat the process.
They were very proud of the fact that they never used a surf-board in those dangerous breakers.
They kept themselves in the crest of the waves by a backward or forward movement of their hands.
Children would practise this surf-riding on a board inside the lagoon.

Brown, George:
Melanesians and Polynesians; their life-histories described and compared
B. Blom, New York, (1908) 1972.
Hathi Trust

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Geoff Cater (2017) : George Brown : Surfriding in Samoa, 1910.