Surfing: The Beginning

Gianna Fine
2 min readAug 29, 2022
tatonomusic on Unsplash

Whether you’ve grown up on the east or west coast, or in Iowa, you’ve probably heard about surfing. The sport can be characterized as laid-back, fun-in-the-sun — but theres more to the practice than applying sunscreen to your nose and catching a wave.

Surfing has no definitive point in history where it was seen to begin, however, earliest evidence shows that it dates back to the 12th century in Polynesia. West Africa as well as Peru also had notes of surfing within their areas. From Polynesia, the Hawaiian islands received the biggest infiltration of surfing.

The practice of surfing had a spiritual foundation it was built on called Kapu, a governing system by which they treated wave sliding with. If you’ve ever heard the term, “Pray for waves”, this is where it had originated. Hawaiians would pray for waves with a Kahuna, or an expert priest. Wave sliders would also give offerings to the trees in which they would carve their boards from as well as giving gratitude after surviving an obliterating swell. It was more than being a surfer — it was about connecting with their ancestors, nature, and their community.

Competitions were also an aspect we see reflected today in surfings billion-dollar industry. Their purpose in surfings formative years was for fun, granting respect/social status, and even romantic success. These competitions were not exclusive…