5 quick facts about the history of Surfing

Surfing a sport so important that it even has its own brand of economics named after it "surfonomics". The social, environmental and economic benefits have long been researched and an estimated value of £5 billion is added to the uk economy (2013 report) through surfing. With surfing's recent inclusion in the summer Olympics, it's a sport going from strength to strength but when did it all begin?

Camp fire Tales vegan organic cotton t-shirt dress

Camp fire Tales vegan
organic cotton t-shirt dress

Sit down surfing

The earliest known reports of surfing were believed to be the peruvians in 200 AD. They would sit on the vessels designed for fishing and surf the waves. The ancestors of these craft are still in use today. Sounds like a relax way to start.

Stand up for Hawaii

Surfing as we know it today undoubtedly started with the Polynesian people of Hawaii. It was first observed and recorded by Captain James Cook's crew in 1778. Prior to an altercation on the beach which lead to his death,   Surfing was described by James king who said:  

“The Men sometimes 20 or 30 go without the Swell of the Surf, & lay themselves flat upon an oval piece of plan about their Size and breadth, they keep their legs close on top of it, & their Arms are us'd to guide the plank, they wait the time of the greatest Swell that sets on Shore, & altogether push forward with their Arms to keep on its top, it sends them in with a most astonishing Velocity, & the great art is to guide the plan so as always to keep it in a proper direction on the top of the Swell, & as it alters its direct.”

Owl on a surfboard vegan organic cotton t-shirt

Owl on a surfboard
vegan organic cotton t-shirt

Surfing was a key part of the culture of Hawaii with the best spots and the best waves being reserved for the upper classes and chiefs.

California and the surfing bug

Surfing in Hawaii had dipped away and gained a resurgence with tourism, by 1866 even Mark Twain had tried it! The sport itself really took off with two Hawaiians Duke Kahanamoku and George Freeth in around 1910. They demonstrated the sport across the world. 

Modern surfing

Much of what we perceive as surfing culture really took off with the influence of magazines such as Surfer in 1962. Surfer Magazine founded by John Severson tracked these nomadic surfers on the hunt for the perfect wave, the laid back lifestyle resonated with the youth of America. Perhaps the most iconic surfing film of all time is Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer, it still holds up today. Where Bruce followers two surfer moving across the world from summer to summer. 

Surfing white cheeked gibbon <br/>sustainable vegan hoodie

Surfing white cheeked gibbon sustainable vegan hoodie

Surfing and conservation

Surfers spend so much time in the oceans and around our coast it is great to see the many conservation organisations that have been established due to surfing.  Its sadly needed with many water companies still pumping horrendous amounts of sewage into our oceans and rivers, remaining unchecked by the government.  As one of our favourite charities, Surfers against sewage states:

Water companies have focused on maximising profits, at the expense of people and the environment. This has to stop. The health of our rivers and beaches is not for sale. It’s time to force the water companies to act.

 Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive, Surfers Against Sewage

Hopefully with the great work of these organisation we will be able to enjoy this sport for many more years to come. 

Why not take a look at our range of surf related clothing from the menus above now?

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