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harry hay : surfriding, 1931 
Harry Hay  : Swimming and Surfing, 1931.

Extracted from
Hay, Harry.: Swimming and Surfing.
Jantzen (Australia) Ltd,. Lidcome, Sydney, 1931. Pages 9 to 12.

A pdf. copy of this book contributed, with thanks, by Henry Marfleet, January 2008.

Remarkably concise and accurate swimming and surfing manual formulated from basic priniples.
The chapters on surf-shooting, detailing the technique for riding the solid wood finless boards of the period, are highly informative.
Harry Hay was an Olympic swimmer at the Antwerp Games of 1920 and later a recognised coach.
He competed in swimming races against Duke Paoa Kahanamoku and George Cunha during their Australian tour in 1914-1915.
He was instructed in the finer points of surfboard riding at by Duke at Freshwater,  the morning of Sunday 10th January 1915.
See:The Sun 12th January 1915, page 7.
Duke Kahanamoku in Australia : January 1915.

Page 9

Surf Board Riding

TWO particular types of waves will  Interest the "surf shooter" and the surf board rider.
They are known as the  "roller" or "slide" - and the "dumper".

The "roller" wave is mostly to be had at high tide.
The "dumper" is more frequenty at low tide - though this is not a hard and fast rule.

The "roller" or "slide' is the wave to be ridden.
The "dumper" must be avoided.
It is dangerous, but can be picked up safely by an expert in the art of "broaching".

Broaching means turning the surf board sideways and parallel to the wave, at the same time sliding down the crest - keeping the near side of the board down and the far side slightly tilted to prevent dipping.

As a begtinner you are advised to start at surf board riding by going into waist deep water where the waves are broken.
Take up a standing position at the back of the board, which should be facing nose shorewards.
As the wave approaches, push off and forward, allowing the body to rest on the board, lower leg and feet trailing in the water behind.
In this manner, the board is fairly balanced and the force of the wave carries you into shore.

When you can balance and guide the board on broken wave, the next thing is to learn how to paddle.
This is necessary in order that you may reach unbroken waves in deep water.
Lie flat out on the board, body fully extended, feet overhanging the end of the board, arms straight out in front in the water at the sides of the board.

Now pull the arm under water to a position in line with the hips.
When the arms reach this positlon, pick them out of the water, bend them at the elbows and carry the arms underneath and forward to the straight out position in front and at the sides of the board.

Page 10
When you become expert at this very necessary part of the art, paddle your board out to the unbroken wave.

It is now that the art of broaching will be found most useful, and the rider is advised to broach the wave immediately he feels its force carrying him forward.

When the slide has been negotiated, the wave will begin to flatten out, and you can then straighten the board and enjoy the ride to the shore.

Up to this point you have been lying on the board.
Personal experience will enable you to judge when you are ready to try standing up.

Go out to the unbroken wave once more.
Select your wave.
Start paddling and let the wave pick you up, broach the wave, negotiate the slide. straighten the board out.
Now take firm hold with the hands at the sides of the board half-way down.
At the same time lift the head and chest, draw one leg after the other and place the feet on the board, resting on your haunches three parts of the way back on the board and in the centre - feet slightly apart.
Be careful not to overbalance or lose the grip with the hands.
Keep the eyes in the direction you are going and guide the board by distribution of weight.

Now that you can stand up on the board you must learn to guide the board with your feet.

One foot is placed forward slightly to the side of the board - the other remains behind and slightly to the opposite side of the board.
Be careful not to place the feet too far apart.

Now use the weight for guiding purposes by shifting from one foot to the other as the direction requIres.
Look straight ahead and not down at the feet.
A sense of balance will bring the feet into their right position with plenty of practice.
A standard surf board should measure approximately nine feet long and twenty four inches in width-across the middle.
The middle of the board should be three inches in depth; should taper to one and three quarter inches at the base; and to one inch at the nose.

Page 11

Surf Shooting

WALK up to waist-deep water.
Do not go further at first.
When you see a broken wave coming, turn round facing shorewards.
Just as it reaches you, plunge so that your chest and head are in front of the wave and the rest of the body is in it.
Keep your head down and your hands and arms straight in front, legs together and relaxed.
Do this for a dozen or so times.
You will find that you are carried a little further each time.
Soon you will be able to stay on the wave until it reaches shallow water.
Now walk out again to waist-deep water to where the waves are just about breaking.
Watch for a wave which you think is going to break nicely for you.
Just as it breaks, face shorewards. push off from the bottom. arms out in front, head down after taking a big gulp of air.

That wave ought to have taken you quite a lot further than the previous ones because you started off with the wave at its full force.
In the previous attempts each wave was partly spent.
Practice this a number of times until you feel that you are getting some distance out of the waves.

The "dumper" is the wave you have to avoid.
It is picked out by the experienced surfer as the big hollow wave without any gliding water.
It simply mounts up to its full height, turns over and comes straight down wIth a dtep boom, churning everything over and over in its course.
It stirs the sand up and generally makes surfing uncomfortable.
Dumpers can be negoriated by experienced surfers in deep water and when they are not too tremendous.

After you have mastered much of the art of surf shooting, you can try holdng your head and taking a breath or two as the wave carries you forward.
Then you can try keeping your head up all the way.
To ride in with your head up it will be necessary for you to relax the body more and to arch the back so that you will keep the trunk of the body in the wave.

Page 12
The next thing to do is shoot the wave with your arms by your sides.
Take the wave as you have been doing previously.
When you are fairly on it, draw your arms round and backward until they reach your thighs.
Hold them there in a relaxed position and let the wave take you shorewards.

When you have done this a number of times bring your arms to the sides immediately you take the wave.
You will probably find this a bit awkward at first.
But practise it hard and it won't be long before you will do it correctly.
The movements of the head can now be brought into play.
You will sometimes find that the wave is dropping you a little.
When this happens dip your head forward so that your face is under water.
Remain in that position until you feel the wave carrying you once again.
Then lift your head and take a breath.
Constant use of the head in this manner will help you to arrive at perfect balance, which, when you have it correctly, allows you to ride all the way in with your head up.

Now try picking up a wave in deepwater.
Here you cannot push off bottom as you have been doing previously.
The thing to do now is use your own judgment as to when you think the wave is going to break.
See that you give yourself time enough to swim two or three powerful strokes.
As you feel yourself being lifted by the wave make your last effort or stroke.
Then quickly get into position to shoot - hands to the thighs, relaxed.
Take a deep breath, head not too high, body straight, but not stiff.
When you once catch a wave in this manner the thrill of it will take you back a thousand times, and soon you will be expert at it.
You can then do some expert shooting.
For instance - instead of swimming to pick up the wave, wait for it to come to you and, as you are being lifted, swing the body round and forward.
If you have timed this movement correctly, the wave will do the rest.

If, when a wave is dropping you, you feel you are going to come out of the back of it - try lifting one leg from the knee up out of the water.
Bend the knee so that the foot and foreleg come clean out of the water - you will find that this has thrown the weight forward and allowed the force of the wave under the body - so that your body will race along and catch up with the front of the wave again.

Extracted from:
Hay, Harry.: Swimming and Surfing.
Jantzen (Australia) Ltd,
Lidcome, Sydney, 1931. Pages 9 to 12.

A pdf. copy of this book contributed,
with thanks, by Henry Marfleet, January 2008. 

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home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2008) : Harry Hay : Swimming and Surfing, 1931.