Surf-Board riding is an
aquatic sport that had its birth in the South Sea Islands.
It is more thrilling than motorboat racing or sailing.
The Hawaiians are the most proﬁcient surf-board riders known.
This was a favorite diversion of Duke Kohanamoku (sic)
on one of his visits to this country, and many may recall
his rides on the breakers at Atlantic City, where he was
greatly handicapped by being without his surfboard and having to
make any old board
ﬁll its place.
In southern Calfornia this sport is taking a ﬁrm hold, but
to date Cliff Bowes, the high diving champion, and Vance
Veith, swimming coach of the Los Angeles Athletic Club, are
the only two masters of the sport and the only two that dare
ride a big board
standing on their heads and feet.
Most persons ride a board by lying on it, but this is very
dangerous if one is not familiar with the trick of balance.
To learn to ride a surfboard a novice should use a board
about four feet long and about 16 inches wide, and should be
to get in a very rough surf.
One should ﬁrst of all learn what kind of waves are suitable
to surfboard riding.
If the waves are high and break heavily a novice should pass
them up on every occasion.
Waves that merely roll in are not dangerous to a beginner.
In going out beyond the breaker line one should always
remember to push the board out in front of him, never
pushing it out sideways, otherwise one is likely to get a
severe blow on the side of the head.
After you get beyond the breaker line lie out on your board
and paddle with both hands until you are on a line with the
Turn your board shoreward and wait until the right kind of a
wave comes along.
Double waves should be allowed to pass undisturbed.
When you behold a good wave coming paddle hard toward the
shore, and after you get going on the crest of the wave stop
paddling and hold on to the sides of the board, and be very
careful that you do not get too far forward, as your board
will dip and
over you will go.
If you have to get off your board always do so from the
side, getting on in the same manner.
This once mastered, you are ready to learn how to stand upon
your board, which amounts to plain practice, but it must be
constant, as the balancing is a matter of “practice makes
When you are proﬁcient in standing and balancing you are
then ready to turn acrobat.
The Hawaiian surf boards and those which Veith and Bowes use
are made of redwood, being nine feet long and weighing 165
The islanders and those hailing from Lower California can
enjoy this sport the year around, as the ocean never cools
off and in midwinter surf-board riding is the main sport.
There is no reason why the sport should not become popular
along the Atlantic coast, except that all our beaches are so
that it might prove dangerous to bathers.
The life guards at the various resorts often enjoy surf
riding in their boats when the bathers are few.
They row out beyond the breaker line and pull slowly toward
shore until they see a huge green monster approaching, when
they row furiously until the boat is on the very crest of
the wave, and the occupants enjoy a thrilling ride to the
It is the same with swimming, as the swimmer, just like the
surf-board rider and life guard, can paddle out beyond the
ing billows, and when he sees a large wave approaching by
swimming hard until he is on the very crest and then lying
extended with hands outstretched in front and feet straight
out behind, he, too, can have the same kind of a joy ride.
The swimmer, just like the surf-board rider, will ﬁnd it
difficult to get his ride at ﬁrst, or if he does it will be
short, but with
practice he rapidly acquires the knack of it and has another
way of enjoying the countless pleasures of surf bathing.
Mind and Body. The Turner
New Ulm, Minnesota. Volume 23
Number 250, June 1916