History of Surfing

Surf at Bang Niang Beach in Khao Lak

Written by Modell Bleu

Content Creator at Author of Roadkill Diary. Chef/Owner of the World Famous Rusty Pelican. Expat in SE Asia since 2004, currently living in Thailand.

Surfing in Khao Lak

There are beautiful beaches in Thailand. Surf spots are easy to find. The most logical place to start is to go where everyone else is going. There are some popular places to surf that are advertised in local and national travel guides. The breaks in Phuket are well documented and easy to find. Billabong and Quicksilver both sponsor surf competitions there.

One place to find good surfing at one of Khao Lak’s larger river mouths. For those of you who are new to surfing a river mouth is the spot where the river meets the ocean. Depending on how strong the water is flowing into the ocean the force of the two tidal swells meeting can make for some good waves for surfing. Thailand has so many waterfalls and rivers that there are a lot of places that could generate a great wave to surf. The best and safest river mouths for surfing beginners would be one with a sandy bottom. Rocks and other large immovable objects can ruin not only your surfboard but your life as well. It is better for you to wait until you get really good at surfing before you try to surf in a rocky area.

A better way to find a good surf spot in Khao Lak is to meet other local surfers and ask questions. Having a great attitude is essential if you want to go this route. Most of the local surfers in Khao Lak will be happy to point you to a good place to surf.

The most important thing about surfing in Khao Lak is to find a place that is easy to access and generates a wave that you would be comfortable riding. Surfing accidents happen when people aren’t being responsible. Surfing in Khao Lak is fun, easy to find and great exercise. Come and join the fun surfing in Khao Lak.

See KHAO LAK SURF REPORT AND FORECAST at the bottom of this page.

History of Surfing

Beach Boys in Hawaii

Surfing is an exciting recreational activity in which the surfers are propelled to shore by the force of a wave. In this sport, the surfer stands, kneels or lays on a fiberglass, foam, epoxy or wooden board. Many people want to experience the thrill of surfing during their beach vacations. If you want to know more about surfing, it may be interesting for you to know a little bit of the history of surfing.

Although there is no recorded history of the first surfer, it is widely assumed that this sport has its origin in the South Pacific. The act of riding waves using a wooden board started in Western Polynesia more than three thousand years ago. The first known surfers were fishermen who found that riding waves was a convenient method for getting to the shore with their catch. Eventually, “surfing” became a part of daily work. It proved to be a revolutionary change in fishing.

Vintage Long Boards

There is no written record about when stand-up surfing was recognized as a sport. It is believed that the kings, queens and royalty of the Sandwich Isles took part in the sport of wave-sliding or “he’enalu” in old Hawaiian during the 15th century. Early records of the history of surfing are found in the late 1700s, when Polynesians and Europeans first landed in Tahiti. It is assumed that the sport of surfing started during the colonization of the Pacific Islands including Indonesia, Tahiti, Fiji and Hawaii. The fact is that the Hawaiians mastered the skill of standing on boards about 1000 years back and Hawaii is generally accepted as the birthplace of modern surfing. The kings of Hawaii used huge 25 to 18 ft long ‘olo’ balsa surfboards while other people surfed with the use of simple ‘alaia’ boards.

Two Waikiki beach boys along with Duke Kahanamoku and George Freeth made the surfing culture very popular. Freeth visited America and presented his surfing skills in California. He was titled as ‘the man who could walk on water’ in California.

Duke Kahanamoku was a deft swimmer who won a gold medal in the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games for the United States. He was also the most well known Hawaiian ambassador. To spread the Aloha spirit, he traveled all across the globe. He introduced surfing to countries like Australia and New Zealand. In the year 1917, Duke managed to surf a Waikiki beach wave on his 16 feet solid redwood surfboard for over a mile. Tom Blake, Duke’s companion in 1926, was the first person to surf Malibu.

Beach House Surfboards Hawaii

By the 1930s, the sport of surfing was expanding and gaining in popularity. Tom Blake was the first man to photograph surfing from the water. Early surfing boards were made of wood that were fin less and heavy. They were difficult to control in huge waves. In 1930, Tom Blake developed the hollow, rib-supported balsa, waterproof glue, dowels and varnish surfboard.

Surf Board designs changed in 1937 when the native Hawaiian teenagers managed to cut the tail into a lucid V. It helped the surfers to hold the wave in a more effective manner allowing them to ride bigger waves.

Bud Browne, a skillful surfer and water man, produced the first ‘surf movie’ with his 1953 “Hawaiian Surfing Movie”. This inspired many surfers, filmmakers and photographers to document this sport. Although the sport of surfing was dominated by men, adventurous women surfers can be found in the history of surfing. Anona Napolean and Eve Fletcher were two notable surfer girls.

The wooden boards progressed into surfboards coated in fiberglass resin with rear stabilizing fins. Today they are made with a variety of materials like epoxy. Surfing is still a growing sport so there is still time to make surfing history yourself.

Shore Break Malibu

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