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History Of Surfing Essay

3608 words - 14 pages

History of Surfing

Surfing, act of riding on waves as they break over a shallow shoreline surface, such as a reef, sand bar, or some other submerged surface. People can surf with just their body, this is called body surfing, or by lying, kneeling, or standing on a surfboard.
Equipment Used - The Surfboard
Modern surfboards are constructed of a plastic foam core that can be shaped by hand or machine, then covered with a shell of fiberglass and resin. Personal boards can vary in dimensions. The high performance surfboards used by top professional competitors are about 6 to 6.5 feet long, and 18.5 inches wide, less than 2.5 inches thick, and weigh about 6 pounds. These boards are called shortboards. Most longboards are 9 feet long, 20 to 22 inches wide and about the same thickness as shortboards. On the bottom of the board there can be one to five fins near the tail, but three is the standard. These fins provide the board with directional stability and enhance performance by providing additional power and forward drive. Both boards can be used for professional or recreational contexts, however the shortboard is better for speed and aerial maneuvers.
When a wave reaches the shallow shoreline of an ocean or other large body of water, the upper portion of the wave pitches forward and the wave begins to break, a motion often indicated by crests of foam called whitecaps. The basic ides of surfing is to ride the unbroken part of a wave for as long as possible, using a variety of maneuvers to speed up, slow down, and maneuver around the breaking portion of the wave. Good surfers continue to ride the wave until the entire wave has broken and become white water.
Surfing competitions can take place anywhere that waves can be ridden, from the winter surf in Hawaii to artificial indoor wave-pools. In competition, surfers are judged using a subjective system that awards points based on the size of the wave ridden, the distance ridden, and the quality of the maneuvers performed by the surfer.
Now that we know the basics what about the other stuff???
The Roots of Surfing - Hawaii
Although no one knows exactly where and when stand-up surfing began, there is no doubt that over the centuries the ancient sport of "he'e nalu" (wave-sliding) was perfected by the Kings and Queens, and by men and women in the Sandwich Isles, long before the 15th century.
Of the Hawaiians who surfed, it was the chiefly class who claimed the highest reputation for dedicated proficiency with board and waves. They had their own prayers, chanters, board shapers, wood and beaches where they alone could surf with others of similar rank. No one dared to drop in on their wave, that meant death, or at least a near death experience. Surfing achieved a special status and respectability in ancient Hawaii. Renowned surfers were celebrated in song and dance and often enjoyed special privileges in the royal circle. Which ever board...

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