hawaiian surfing , 1939
Walker McSpadden : Surfriding in Hawaii, 1939.
McSpadden, J. Walker:
Crowell, New York,
Joseph Walker McSpadden (1874-1960)
But, back from ethnology to surfboarding.
It looks easy to do as we watch those boys.
Why not try it?
A good many fair swimmers of both sexes from the States do, with
We suspect that the bunch of girls laughing out there in the
water, as they climb aboard their planks, only to fall off
again, are more interested in the "bronze gods" who are their
mentors than in the sport itself.
Surf-riding is, in fact, a dangerous pastime for the unin-
The boards are long and heavy - ten or twelve feet long - built
of three-ply koa wood.
The best of them cost as much as $150.
It was somewhat of a shock to me to learn thatmost of them are
made in California.
But I was to get other shocks regarding "native" products as I
"Surf-riding?" asked my friend - the same who had piloted me
"Don't do it, unless you are heavily insured - and then, don't
When that board gets away from you, jump as far as you can the
For if it hits you, it can brain you.
I went in for the sport for a while - got a crack on the head
one time, and nearly caved-in a rib at another.
I decided that my job was more valuable to me than a surfboard."
The other pastime that lures the malihinis is canoeing.
This is not as perilous as it looks.
The canoes are of outrigger type, with long, protecting arms on
It requires an unusually boisterous wave to upset one, though I
witnessed onesuch happening.
The canoes seat four, six, or eight, and are incharge of
stalwart beach-boys at each end - perhaps another near the
They paddle out to where the combers are smashing across the
"Huki! Huki! Pull! Pull!" yells the boy at the stern.
Everybody works - even that fat Chicagoan and his wife who have
paid a dollar apiece for the privilege.
It is amusing to see such passengers put their backs in it and
look about wildly as the waves swoop down upon them.
But the grasshopper-like craft stays miraculously upright, and
the helmsman points it directly seaward.
Then, "Pau! Stop!" he cries, and all poise their paddles.
Down goes the craft broad-side to the wave, down into a trough
until it is apparently
But see! - up it comes again like a chip, and in toward the
shore, a plaything of the waves, dancing in un-harmed.
Beyond the surfboards and canoes, there is little to remind one
that this beach is two thousand miles out in the Pacific.
The scene is similar to that of many other resorts.
The same gaudy umbrellas, tired business men, fat dowagers, and
The latter are not the languorous native lassies that our travel
circulars have pictured; they are from Denver, Cleveland, and
In summertime they are school-marms.
Where, then, is the grass-skirted hula girl stroking her
You may find her on the hotel grounds or lanais with her troupe,
in the evening; or out at Kapiolani Park, some sunny day, "doing
her stuff" for the cameras.
For she is strictly professional and as likely as not is a
The "uke" that you hear not far away on the beach is being
strummed by a girl you met on shipboard, and she doesn't wear a
grass skirt - her back is toward you and, at first glance, she
doesn't appear to be bothered with any clothes at all!
Surfboard riding at Waikiki
Geoff Cater (2016) : J. W.
McSpadden : Beautiful Hawaii, 1939.