The entire planet knows what surfing is, yet it wasn’t always so; the earliest evidence we have are 12th-century Polynesian cave paintings that depict men standing on boards and riding the waves. Of course, these boards would have been basic and probably made from a range of timbers, yet nevertheless, the Polynesian islanders had discovered surfing at that early time.
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The Polynesian Islands were home to indigenous people who lived harmoniously with the sea and we have no doubt that separate groups experimented with surfboards and were likely very skilled, much like today’s top-tier surfers. Rather than being purely recreational, the Polynesians used flat boards as transport as they hunted fish with spears.
James Cook’s Diary
In the 18th century, European Captain James Cook entered in his diary a section describing islanders using flat timber platforms to ride along waves; this is the earliest written evidence of early forms of surfing. Indeed, the intrepid traveller’s writings showed the skills and abilities of the islanders to make the best use of marine life. The European sailors were astounded to see youngsters surfing near sharp and ragged reefs, they were concerned for their safety, much to the delight of the locals.
The early surfers did not enjoy the luxury women’s Rip Curl wetsuits that we have today; most wore nothing more than a pair of shorts, with perhaps a pair of worn shoes. Yes, there were injuries even fatalities, especially when they surfed close to coral reefs.
Surfing in Australia
The early 20th century saw a Hawaiian by the name of Duke Kahanamoku introduced surfing in Australia; a group of settlers watched in amazement as Duke rode the waves on his unique surfboard. From that time, a group of settlers were hooked and they began to experiment by making their own boards. The 1950s saw the formation of Surfing Australia, the nation’s governing body and the sport quickly grew in popularity. Top surfing companies such as Rip Curl sponsor tournaments at great locations like Bells Beach Victoria and a stretch of coastline on Gold Coast. Click here for information on Chevy and Ford, asking which is more popular.
In 1956, a team of US lifeguards introduced the Malibu board to the Australians and the rest is history; less than a decade later, an Australian by the name of Bob McTavish, an aspiring surfboard designer invented the V-bottom surfboard, which was revolutionary.
World Surf League
Australia hosts 3 major WSL tournaments, which are as follows:
- Quicksilver Pro, Gold Coast
- Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach Victoria
- Margaret River Pro sponsored by Drug Aware
There have been many Australian World Surfing Champions; Tom Carroll, Barton Lynch, Mick Fanning, Wendy Botha, Sally Fitzgibbons and Mark Richards.
Surfing has firmly embedded itself in the Australian culture and if you are an avid surfer, the best deals for surfing equipment and accessories are found with the online supplier. Google is the only tool you need to shop for boards, clothing, wetsuits and other products, while free delivery is normal.