Introduction Basic account of surf-riding at Waikiki with an
illustration by the author.
Four miles from the centre of the town, along the coast
toward Diamond Head, is Waikiki Beach, immortalized in our
contemporary jazz songs.
It is here that the thrilling pastime of surf-board riding
is seen at its best.
The long rollers of the Pacific are particularly suitable
for the sport, which the natives had brought to a high art
long before white men had ever heard of it.
Lying or standing on a board six feet long by two feet wide,
a skilled surf-rider will slide down the front of a big wave
and race half a mile toward the beach at a breathless speed.
Success at the sport requires judgment in seizing just the
right moment to begin the swift glide shoreward.
A half-second too late or too soon means failure, and
possibly a stunning blow on the head or body from the
swimmer, pushing his board in
front of him, swims outthrough the breakers until he is
some distance from the
shore, when he turns his back to the incoming seas, and,
lying partly on the board, gently paddles in the trough of
the rollers until one comes along which he chooses to ride
He then paddles forward as hard as he can, and if the time
has been judged nicely the big roller will carry him
along, he slipping, as it were, down its front slope
without ever reaching the bottom.
A really skilful surf-rider will draw himself
forward along the racing
board, then carefully get his bent knees under him, and
from a kneeling position raise his body until he is
Only the experts can do this.
Stanley: The Pacific Illustrated by the
T.Y. Crowell, New York, 1931.