The warm tropical waters and perfectly breaking waves found in Hawaii truly are a Hawaiian surfer?s paradise. The history of surfing in Hawaii is a large part of the island?s culture. The ancient sport holds great meaning for Hawaiians and is deeply rooted in traditional Hawaiian culture.

The First Hawaiian Surfers

While no one knows exactly when and where surfing first originated Cal Clutterbuck Salute to Service Jersey , the popularity of modern surfing traces a direct route back to Hawaii.

Captain Cook, who landed on the island of Hawaii in 1778 during an exploration expedition, penned the earliest written records describing the act of surfing. However, the ancient Polynesians had been surfing for centuries before Captain Cook?s observance of the now popular water sport. Hawaiian hieroglyphics depicting men on surfboards date back to as early as 1500 AD. The Hawaiians call surfing he?e nalu, which when translated means ?wave sliding?.

While most modern-day surfers consider surfing a sport, ancient Hawaiian surfing was part religion, part sport, and a large part of the Hawaiian social culture.

The Religious Aspects of Hawaiian Surfing

Traditional Hawaiians believe that the sea has distinct moods and actions. Special priests, called Kahunas, would pray to the sea for the surfers. They also performed special dances and rituals intended to please the sea so she would reward the surfers with perfect waves. If surfers had good waves that day, the people gave the credit to the priests who successfully pleased the sea and were rewarded with powerful, perfect waves.

Creating surfboards is also a religious ceremony in Hawaiian culture. Only three types of wood were suitable for crafting traditional surf boards. Surfers took special care in selecting a tree for use as a surfboard. Once a surfer selected the right tree, he recited special prayers and placed fish in a hole at the base of the tree. Only once these rituals were completed could the tree be cut down for use as a surfboard.

Surfing in the Hawaiian Culture

Surfing was not only a sport for Hawaiians, but it was also an integral part of their society. Surfing was part of the Kapu system of government on the islands. This system maintained a sense of order and societal classes. Surfboards were divided into classes according to the type of wood used and the length of the boards. The largest and heaviest of surfboards were reserved strictly for Hawaiian royalty.

Surfing was used as a means to settle disputes among the people. Wealth, social standing, land holdings and even matters of the heart were all settled with a surfing contest. The chief of the island was by far the best surfer and he surfed regularly to maintain his standing in the community and keep up his strength and skill in the water.

History of Surfing in Hawaii

Around 1820, missionaries and settlers from England arrived on the Hawaiian Islands and attempted to take control of the Hawaiian people. Traditional Hawaiian culture and practices were prohibited or strongly discouraged during this time, and surfing nearly became extinct on the islands.

After years of oppression, a period of social reform began around 1905. A group of native Hawaiians lead by Duke Kahanamoku revived surfing on the islands. The resurgence of surfing continued, and visitors to the islands enjoyed watching this unique Hawaiian pastime. The sport eventually found its way back to the mainland and a small gathering of loyal surfers formed in California, where it eventually grew into the popular sport we know today.

Hawaiian Surfer?s Paradise

Hawaii is renowned for being a surfer?s paradise. The mild weather and nearby coral reefs provide perfect waves and a multitude of desirable surfing locations on each of the Hawaiian Islands. The continually changing outlay of the islands due to incessant volcanic activity ensures that local surfers remain challenged. One of the most popular surfing points in Hawaii, known as the Drain Pipes, has been completely overtaken by lava.

This same volcanic activity also produces spectacular surfing beaches with white, golden, green and black sand. For this reason, the wonders of the Hawaiian surfer?s paradise has spread well beyond the tropical paradise as visitors and surfing enthusiasts from all over the world travel to Hawaii to enjoy some of the best surfing the sea has to offer.

SYDNEY, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Australia's oldest community built skate park has been put on a state's heritage register to become the third skate park in the world to be given such a listing.

Albany's world renowned Snake Run in Western Australia State - 416 km southeast of Perth and believed to be the second oldest community built skate park in the world - tracks 140 meters down a slope with unique walls designed to replicate ocean waves, allowing skaters to emulate the art of surfing.

"The Snake Run is kind of old school. At the time skate boarding was surfing's little brother," world renowned skate boarder Russ Howell, who attended park's 40th anniversary celebrations, told Australia's national broadcaster on Friday.

"Every skate show I've been to since I've been here knows about Albany," he said.

The park was built in 1976 after a group of Albany High School kids managed to fundraise 3,000 Australian dollars for the park, which spurred the local government to donate an additional 10,000 Australian dollars and the land.

"This place was just sitting here and it was the best thing to happen to Albany as far as the kids go," Graham Macaulay, whose father Jim Macaulay played a key role in establishing the park, said.

The Western Australia state heritage status makes Albany's Snake Run the third skate park to be given a heritage listing in the world.

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