surfing in hawaii, 1925
Surfing in Hawaii, 1925.Hill, James
Langdon: Tiptops of travel, visits to places of human
interest and to the homes of ideas R.G.
Badger, Boston,1925. Hathi Trust https://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89097143713
Introduction In a general appreciation of
surfing and Waikiki Beach, Hill notes:
The girls here grow
silly and rave over some Duke, who is a star surfrider,
just as they do over some magnetic tenor singer or some actor at home.
EASE AND SELF-POSSESSION
IN THE WATER
On this oasis, in the middle of a wide ocean, the
natives learn to swim in babyhood.
Visit the beach by day or night and you will find them
disporting in the tide.
At evening parties, it is said that the guests exchange
their dress suits for bathing suits and make a hearty
response to what the wild waves are saying.
On visiting one of the local little seats of learning,
Isabella Bird finds that several of the children swim to
and from school every day.
Our first sight on reaching Honolulu and our last on
leaving it, were of these little brown amphibious beings
that riot in the waves from infancy.
As we drew near to these Summer Isles of Eden, small
black heads were seen bobbing about like corks in the
The sun-kissed Pacific was nearly as transparent as the
atmosphere and the lithe slender bodies of these young
at home on land or sporting in the sea could be seen at
a great depth, as much at home as their familiar friends
fish that darted about among them.
On grasping the sinking coin they would hold it in hand
until they came to the surface, when they would first
exhibit it to the person who cast it into the water, and
then they would pass it to their mouths, which soon
became well-filled pouches.
THE ISLANDERS AT PLAY
Their amusements are swimming, music, canoeing, surf-riding and surprisingly we are shown their
places for precipitous
coasting or sliding.
This toboganing is done on a sharp incline of lava
sometimes covered with the velocity of the wind.
mountains, By glory crowned; Ye sacred fountains Of gods renowned; Ye woods and highlands, Where heroes dwell; Ye seas and islands, Farewell! Farewell!"
The girls here
grow silly and rave over some Duke, who is a star surfrider, just as they do over
some magnetic tenor singer
or some actor at home.
The surf-boardis a highly polished plank about eight feet
long and ten inches wide, having thin edges and is
shaped exactly like a coffin lid.
It is made of a very buoyant wood.
The trick is, having pushed the surfboard out to sea,
beyond the first line of combers, to so catch the
highest incoming breaker, that is running like a race
horse, at just the right moment, as to keep within its
They come to shore swift as an arrow shot from a bow.
The expert, doing stunts, will rise and stand, and often
stand upon his head, upon the plank that is carried
on the curling crest of a great roller.
RIGHT SIDE UP WITH CARE
The canoes that they operate on the same great combers,
have universally, out-riggers, which are made of a light
corky wood, which rest and run on the water, parrallel
with the canoe and at the distance of five to ten feet
They are turned up at one end like a sleigh runner and
the other end is
shaped somewhat like the stock of a gun.
The canoe cannot fall toward the outrigger to which it
is lashed, and its weight and that of the yoke keep it
from turning over in the opposite direction.
The native is at his best in and upon the ocean.
The water is as mild as that in one of our rivers during
We come to understand why the Greeks and Romans built
baths of rare and costly marbles and spent hours each
day in gentle dalliance with perfumed waters.
When the canoeist and surf-rider race, they fly away on the waves
like some hurrying thing of life.
The original canoe was made of some giant pine caught by
the gale, a present from Oregon and borne hither by the
On tranquil water the boat moves as lightly as a swan.