Big Island Snorkling Tours Blog

Surfing – Hawaii’s Sport of Kings

Man surfing

Due to the beautiful blue waters, tropical climate, and Hawaiian culture, water activities are an important part of Hawaiian life.  Join the best crew on the Hoku Nui for a snorkel or manta ray tour you’ll long remember.

According to Surfer Today, it’s difficult to trace the history of surfing as it is such an ancient sport.

Surfing was first observed in the blue waters of the pacific with Polynesians and was considered the sport of kings as royalty often participated in the sport.  Polynesians brought this sport with them when they journeyed to Hawaii.  Polynesians didn’t have written language and passed information down using chants or Hawaiian meles.   Although surfing was prominent in the Pacific region, it really developed and spread from Hawaii.

Captain Cook brought Europeans to Hawaii and they were then introduced to this sport of kings. This was the first exposure of surfing to Europeans.

Hawaii placed importance on sports and dance such as surfing and hula.  The formidable King Kamehameha I was renowned for his physical strength and skill.  He and his queen Ka’ahumanu often surfed together.

King Kamehameha the Great was able to keep Hawaii independent from the European influence that was prevalent at that time.  His successors were unable to do that and, after the King’s death, missionaries from Boston arrived with their religious rules.  Queen Ka’ahumanu ruled Hawaii after Kamehameha’s death and she became close friends and with Hiram Bingham, leader of the first group of Protestant missionaries.  Hingham had a strong influence on Queen Ka’ahumanu.   Surfing, hula and other favorite activities of Hawaiians were banned  as Hingham believed it was against God.

It wasn’t until the start of King Kamemeha’s reign, fifty years later, that surfing and hula were restored.  This was accomplished by David Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch of the Pacific, the last King of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Hawaii is considered the home of surfing and the famous Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku is credited with bringing the sport to Australia in 1915.  Today, Australia has many surfing tournaments.

Surfing is a sport that has physical and mental benefits.  The constant paddling contributes to increase heart rate and cardiovascular health as well as arm and back strength.  Also, the action of the ocean reduces stress and has an ability to make people relax and think.


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