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Surfing

SURFING

SURFING. Riding a surfboard across the face of a breaking wave was once the preserve of ancient Polynesian islanders, but in the twentieth century it became something enjoyed by millions of people the world over. Modern surfing has spread well beyond its more recent Hawaiian, American, and Australian origins, becoming a global phenomenon of such magnitude that every minute of every day will find somebody, somewhere, trying to catch a wave. The talented and photogenic few are paid to surf by a multibillion dollar surfing industry. For the rest, it is an obsessive hobby, a statement of identity, and even a spiritual pursuit.

Surfing originated sometime between 1500 b.c. and a.d. 400 among the oceanic island cultures of Polynesia. From there, it spread to the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands,


where it was witnessed by the British explorer Captain James Cook in 1778. The missionaries that followed in Cook's wake discouraged the practice to such an extent that it had practically vanished by the end of the nineteenth century. It was revived early in the 1900s by young Hawaiians and promoted by the local tourist industry and Alexander Hume Ford, who founded the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Club in 1908 in Honolulu. The Hawaiian surfers Duke Kahanamoku and George Freeth traveled to America and Australia to take part in exhibitions that helped spread surfing beyond Hawaii's shores.

The accessibility of the sport was limited by the athletic demands of the heavy redwood boards that were the Hawaiian norm. Only with the invention of lighter board materials in the 1940s and 1950s did surfing become more appealing to the general public. Surfing subcultures appeared in Hawaii, California, and Australia, developing a distinctive language, fashion, attitude, and lifestyle that gradually filtered into mainstream popular culture. The 1960s saw the emergence of glossy surfing magazines, surf music, and surf clothing and equipment companies, along with the release of numerous surf-related movies, all of which led to a huge increase in the surfing population. New inventions such as wetsuits, leashes, and more maneuverable short boards only added to surfing's worldwide popularity. Large national organizations were created to organize the sport and to hold competitions, leading eventually to a professional circuit that is funded, principally, by the surf industry and media sponsorship. The original extreme sport, surfing continues to push its boundaries. The development of tow-in surfing technology allows big-wave surfers to ride offshore waves that are more than sixty feet high.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Finney, Ben, and James Houston. Surfing: The History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport. San Francisco: Pomegranate Books, 1996.

Kampion, Drew. Stoked: A History of Surf Culture. Santa Monica, Calif.: General Publishing, 1997.

Young, Nat. The History of Surfing. Angourie, Australia: Palm Beach Press, 1998.

RickDodgson

See alsoHonolulu ; Sports .

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surfing

surfing, sport of gliding on a breaking wave. Surfers originally used long, cumbersome wooden boards but now ride lightweight synthetic boards that allow a greater degree of maneuverability. Boards are typically from 4 to 12 ft (122 to 366 cm) long; the larger surfboards have a stabilizing fin in the rear. The surfer begins at the point where the waves begin to form, then, facing shore, paddles toward the beach with an oncoming wave. When the wave catches the board, the surfer stands up and glides along the wave's crest—or, in the case of a large wave, in the "tube" formed by its overhead curl. Standing waves in rivers and tidal bores can also be surfed.

Although the origins of surfing are obscure, it is clear that it developed in Hawaii, where it was popular during the 19th cent. It spread to the California coast during the 1920s and became very popular with youth in the United States, Australia, and other countries by the 1960s. Since the late 1990s aerial tricks similar to those done by skateboarders and snowboarders have become an accepted part of competitive surfing. With lifestyles and regimens freer than those of most athletes, surfers comprise a unique sporting subculture.

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surfing

surfing Water sport in which a person lies or stands on a specially designed wooden or fibreglass board, usually 1.22–1.83m (4–6ft) long, and is propelled by the crest of a wave towards the shore.

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"surfing." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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surfing

surfing Informal Dipping into the information available from the services on a large network, especially the Internet, with no definite objective in mind. Surfing is closely allied to browsing.

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"surfing." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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