The first account of surfing recorded by a European was an eyewitness account by Capt. Cook in the "Endeavour" in 1769, before he discovered Australia.
But it was 143 years after his arrival before a surfboard found its way here. In 1912-13, Manly surfclub members made boards of their own from an imported Hawaiian board.
In 1915 the Hawaiian surfboard champion, Duke Kahanamoku, gave an exhibition at Freshwater which startled and thrilled the onlookers; from then on surfing really became accepted as a skilful form of sport.
There have been three distinct eras for surfboards:
1. The solid board, from 1912 to 1938;
2. The hollow board, from 1938 to 1956;
3. From America
came the balsawood, Malibu board, fibreglass covered and fitted with a
fin, from 1956 until today, when it is rapidly being superseded by the
American-invented polyurethane/glass covered board.
The Malibu board weighs about 25 Ibs. against the solid board's 65-70 Ibs. and the hollow board's 45-50 Ibs.
The hollow board is still used for racing, but, although faster, it is not as easy to handle as the Malibu.
The surf-ski is 100% Australian, being designed and introduced by a Manly club member, Dr. J. S. Crackanthorp, in the early 1920's.
How to make Your Own Surfboard.
The Australian Surfing Kit Company,
6 Mount Strreet North Sydney, N.S.W.,
Box 3883 G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W.,
Surfing World Magazine
January 1965, page 35.
Image contributed, with thanks,
by Mick Mock, Manly, February 2008.