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The Origins of Surfing


            
             A surfer approaches the beach on a perfect morning. The orange sun is just rising over the horizon. The gentle breeze stirs around the scent of salt and the water looks like glass. The man goes into the ocean and maneuvers among the large waves successfully, skillfully cutting and slashing on the face of the swell. Stoked, the man would never stop to think, "Who was the first person to ever do that?" Surfing is one of the oldest sports today. It is a combination of sensitivity to the environment and pure athleticism. But how has surfing gotten to where it is today?.
             The art of riding a board on an ocean swell was first done by the ancient Polynesians more than three thousand years ago. The migration of the Polynesians to the Hawaiian Islands started in about 2000 B.C. and lasted through the fourteenth century. They started in what is now Indonesia and traveled to Hawaii. The pioneers" voyage was nearly three thousand miles in fierce ocean currents and prevailing winds. The Polynesians made it to Hawaii in double-hulled canoes, which were well equipped for the journey ahead of them. Relying on their knowledge of traditional sea and wind patterns, the seamen successfully completed the passage across the Pacific.
             However, the Polynesians were not sailors. They were watermen; skilled in the areas of paddling, rowing, rough-water swimming, and surfing. The first surfers were first known for their finesse of the canoes before they took to slabs of wood. Catching waves with theses canoes was the easy way to surpass the dangerous coral reefs, so this is where they first adopted the skill of wave riding. Then the Polynesians started to catch the swells for fun. This revolutionary act began the sport of surfing.
             Actually, the beginning of catching waves for fun was done in Polynesia in the late 1700s. The Europeans saw the Polynesians surfing while on expeditions in Tahiti. The sport spread quickly, and was already one of the most widespread Polynesian sports after the voyages.


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