hall and nordhoff : surf riding in tahiti, 1921
It was early afternoon
when we laid down our burdens in the cook house and stripped for a swim.
The others were awakening from their siesta; a flock of brown children, all vaguely related to the family of Airima, followed us to the river, carrying miniature surf boards.
Next moment they were in the water, splashing and shouting as they paddled downstream toward where the surf broke on the bar.
Tehinatu, the pretty sister of Maruae, passed us with a rush and leaped feet first from the high bank.
She rose to the surface thirty yards away, shouting a challenge to catch her before she could reach the opposite shore.
Her brother and I dove together, raced across the river, and had nearly overtaken the girl when she went under like a grebe.
I was no match for her at this game; under water she could swim as fast as I, and was a hundred times more at home.
I gave up the pursuit and landed for a sunning among the warm rocks of the point.
Out where the seas reared for the landward rush the black heads of children appeared and disappeared; I could hear the joyous screams of others, flattened on their boards and racing toward me, buried in flying spray.
Faery Lands of the South Seas
with illustrations by George A. Picken.
Garden City Publishing Company, New York, 1921.