When Was Surfing Invented?
Whether you’re a surfing enthusiast, part-time hobbyist, or just curious, you might be wondering when surfing was invented. Long before bleach blond beach bums, fishers in Polynesia began navigating the water on wooden planks about 3000 years ago. This means that the very first surfers lived around 1000 B.C. The boards helped the fisherman get around easier, but before long they started navigating the waves for fun. Although there aren’t any clear records, it is believed that around the 1400's these Polynesians began standing on the boards to add a new challenge to this activity that would eventually be called surfing.
Three centuries after surfing was invented, around the 1700's, the sport made its journey to where it has reached its most visible popularity, Hawaii. After Polynesians introduced surfing to the Hawaiian Islands, the sport advanced rapidly and surfers became more and more skilled in the art of riding waves. Around this time, a true culture based around surfing began to develop, including religious practices involving the sport, mastery of board crafting, and an increased societal significance of surfing. Hawaiian royalty were the most prominent and accomplished surfers and many beaches were reserved for surfing by only the wealthiest individuals. Interestingly, many Hawaiian royalty chose to surf on extremely long boards that could reach 24 feet in length.
After seeing centuries of development since when surfing was developed, the sport had lost nearly all its popularity by the early 1900's. By the 1930's, however, its presence had again begun to increase around the islands of Hawaii. Surfing would soon spread to the west coast of the United States and across the world. Today, surfers from all countries make their way to beaches and enjoy this activity that has been around for thousands of years.