svec : king of hawaiian sports, 1940
F. Svec : King of Hawaiian Sports, 1940. Svec,Joseph F.:King
of Hawaiian Sports United States Army Recruiting News U.S. Army,
Recruiting Publicity Bureau, Governors Island, N.Y.,
Volume 23 Number 3, May 1940.
Introduction Although the cover clearly displays the title as United
States Army Recruiting News, Hathi Trust catalogues the
magazine as Life of the Soldier and the Airman.
Favorite Pastime of Ancient Kanakas, Still Practiced in
Hawaiian Waters By JOSEPH R. SVEC, Private, first class,
SOLDIERS in the Hawaiian Department stationed in and around
Honolulu are indeed fortunate to be close to the famous
There they have an opportunity to participate in "King of
Hawaiian Sports"— Surfing.
Baseball, basketball, boxing and the other sports have their
thrills; but the thrill of depending on a small board on a
swell ten to fifteen feet high, gliding through space at
speeds ranging from fifteen to thirty-five miles an hour,
pounding the surf as the comber breaks, feeling that sudden
jump forward of the board, with a spray of salt water over
you, gives you an unbelievable
sense of attainment with each completed ride, far greater
than the combined thrills of that ten-second knockout or
that timely base hit in the last of the ninth.
The popularity of surfing is attested by the devotion to the
sport of the early natives of the islands, and through the
years its popularity has been enhanced by the thrills it has
furnished each Hawaiian generation.
Today, more than ever, many peoples from all corners of the
earth enjoy themselves daily in Hawaii at this unusual
Surfing is good clean fun, healthful, a great body-builder;
increases swimming ability; keeps one out in the open air,
and, consequently, in good physical condition.
A wonderful example of the benefits derived from surfing is
portrayed by the islands' most beloved citizen, Duke
Kahanamoku, at present the sheriff and unofficial greeter of
Surfboards are made from balsa, koa, and California redwood.
They vary in length from nine to sixteen feet, and weigh
from forty-four pounds to one hundred and twenty-five
The most popular and modern in design is the "Tom Blake,"
designed and patented by Tom Blake, the Hawaiian surfboard
paddling champion in 1930, and former member of the Waikiki
It is a hollow board, twelve feet, ten inches in length, and
weighs only forty-four pounds.
Being light, streamlined, and buoyant, it is easily
handled—which accounts for its great popularity at Waikiki.
Retail sales prices for new boards range from twenty-five to
seventy-five dollars, depending on material, length, and
type of board chosen.
Boards can be rented for prices ranging from fifty cents to
a dollar and a half for a day's surfing, the price naturally
being determined by the quality and type of board rented.
Position on the board, paddling, sliding, balance, and
ability to judge waves are the fundamentals of surfing, and
though simple, should be mastered by every surfer in order
to derive the greatest enjoyment from the sport.
Position on the board is to lie flat on the stomach, the
body well in the center of the board at all times, so that
the board lies level
on the surface of the water, the legs and feet together with
toes pointed backward and touching the end of the board,
keeping shoulders and head raised slightly.
Paddling is the second requirement of surfing and it is the
most strenuous part of this sport.
Avoid reaching out away from the board in taking strokes and
in carrying the stroke back too far, as this practice is
tiresome and unnecessary.
Hold the arms a few inches from and alongside the board,
hands cupped, fingers together, and take long strokes, with
a steady pull, relaxing the arms momentarily after the
stroke has been completed and before continuing the next
Steady strokes coming down alongside the board are easiest
and obtain the best results.
To know how to slide accurately and turn quickly are the
most important phases of surfing.
It is essential to master the technique of these two
maneuvers, or unnecessary, and sometimes serious, accidents
will result on crowded days.
Sliding prevents the board from "diving" and must be done on
each wave immediately after feeling the board shooting
forward on the slope of the wave.
Sliding and turning is accomplished by dragging either foot
in the water, depending on the direction to be taken.
To slide or turn to the right, the surfer uses the right
foot, to the left, the left foot.
Surfing standing up should be done in one motion to insure
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King of Hawaiian Sports (Continued from Page Seven)
iness and prevent loss of balance, and is accomplished after
one has caught the wave and completed the
Grasp the side of the board about mid-board, getting up with
one forward movement and placing the left foot about six
inches beyond the center of the board, with the right foot
eight to ten inches in the rear of the left.
There should be a spread between both feet of about ten
inches in order to assure balance.
Everyone has his own particular way of standing; some riders
prefer the right foot out front instead of the left.
Balancing while standing is done by the use of the arms and
the shifting of the rider's weight from one foot to the
Short steps are taken forward or backward as required, this
is determined by strict observance of the front of the board
and its position in the water.
Beginners naturally have little ability to judge waves and
at first must be content with observing and following the
old timers at the sport.
The ability to judge waves comes gradually to the surfer
from many hours of practice.
Surfboards are not restricted to surfing.
Their value has been proven many times as an outstanding aid
for life-saving on beaches here and throughout the mainland.
The Waikiki Beach Patrol* finds unlim- ited entertainment
during off-duty hours by using the boards for surf-board
water polo, paddling racing, both single and tandem; also
Many soldiers do take the opportunity to participate in
surfing, mostly on week-ends; also a fair number own and
keep their boards in and around Waikiki.
Fort De Russy keeps surfboards on the beach for the
enjoyment of the commissioned and enlisted personnel.
*The Waikiki Beach Patrol is an organized body of men
sponsored by the City and Territory for the safeguarding of
swimmers on public beaches in and around the city of
They are also experts in the handling of outrigger canoes
United States Army
Recruiting News U.S.
Army, Recruiting Publicity Bureau, Governors Island,
Volume 23 Number 3, May 1940.