“I could not help concluding, that this man felt the most supreme pleasure, while he was driven on, so fast and so smoothly, by the sea.” ~ Captain James Cook
Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (1890 – 1968) was a competition swimmer who popularized the sport of surfing. A Native Hawaiian, he was born to a minor noble family less than three years before the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming, winning medals in 1912, 1920 and 1924. He attracted people to surfing in mainland America first in 1912 while in Southern California. His surfing exhibition at Sydney, Australia's Freshwater Beach on December 24, 1914, is widely regarded as a seminal event in the development of surfing in Australia. [Wikipedia]
In pre-contact Hawaii, surfing was for everyone; mothers, grandfathers, warriors, princesses, children. Surfing was of such value to early Hawaiians that it was forbidden to work or war during prime surf season. In the 1770’s Captain Cook arrived in Hawaii and life for native Hawaiians diminished. They became slaves to the settlers, adopting their ways and religion. They began working on the plantations during the week and attending church on Sundays instead of following their traditional customs. Surfing itself was looked down upon as nasty and vulgar.