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During the 1800s, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian writers described surfing as a “national pastime,” a phrase that highlights the prominence surfing held among native Hawaiians. Surfing was an activity everyone enjoyed—men, women, and children, chiefs and commoners. The phrase “national pastime” tells us that surfing was not only widely practiced, but that it was one of the most beloved activities of the Hawaiian people. This is evident in many early observations of the sport, especially those by non-Hawaiians such as William Ellis, a Christian missionary who visited Hawai‘i in 1822, and Nathaniel Emerson, a noted historian in the late 1800s. Sometimes the greater part of the inhabitants of a village go out to this sport [surfing ], when the wind blows fresh towards the shore, and spend the greater part of the day in the water. All ranks and ages appear equally fond of it. To see fifty or a hundred persons riding on an immense billow, half immersed in spray and foam, for a distance of several hundred yards together, is one of the most novel and interesting sports a foreigner can witness in these islands. —Ellis. Journal. pp. 267–268. Surfriding was one of the most exciting and noble sports known to the Hawaiians, practiced equally by king, chief, and commoner. It is still to some extent engaged in, though not as formerly, when it was not uncommon for a whole community, including both sexes and all ages, to sport and frolic in the ocean the livelong day. —Malo. Hawaiian Antiquities. p. 223. From a footnote written in 1898 by translator Nathaniel Emerson. Na paani kahiko o Hawaii nei, oia hoi ka heenalu, lelekawa, heeholua, piliwaiwai a me ka mokomoko. He nui a lehulehu wale na hana o Hawaii nei, e pili ana i nei mea he lealea, a ua kapaia mai lakou, na paani kahiko o Hawaii nei. 7UDGLWLRQDO+DZDLLDQ6XUILQJ 1 +$:$,,$1685),1*  O ka heenalu, oia kekahi paani nui loa o Hawaii nei, mai na’lii a na makaainana. —Ka Nupepa Kuokoa. dec 23, 1865. p. 1. The traditional past-time sports of Hawai‘i were surfing, cliff jumping, hōlua sledding , gambling, and boxing. There were a great many things done here in Hawai‘i for pleasure and they were all called the ancient sports of Hawai‘i. Surfing was a very popular sport in Hawai‘i from the chiefs to the commoners. The passages that follow confirm the observations of Ellis and Emerson, and many other early writers, that almost everyone in Hawai‘i surfed. The passages show, too, that women not only surfed, but that they surfed as well as men, and there are many examples of women who were excellent surfers. One of the most important of these is the goddess Hi‘iaka in The Epic Tale of Hi‘iakaikapoliopele, where she is an exceptional surfer, as good as her brother, Kānemilohae. The stature and prowess of women as surfers goes back to antiquity and is validated in Hawaiian legend with Hi‘iaka as one of the most important role models. ‘O ko lākou nei hele ia a Hakalau i nā lehua o Malaeakini, ‘ike akula ‘o Wahine‘ōma‘o i ka he‘e nalu mai o kekahi po‘e kāne, nā wāhine, a me nā kamali‘i, a ‘ōlelo akula ia i ke aikāne, “Mākena wale ho‘i ua po‘e e he‘e nalu maila. ‘O kāne, ka wahine, a me kamali‘i ia e kaha maila i ka nalu.” —Nogelmeier. Ka Mo‘olelo. p. 108. They went along until Hakalau, amid the lehua trees of Malaeakini, when Wahine‘ōma‘o saw men, women, and children surfing, and said to her companion, “What a crowd of people surfing. Men, women, and children, all sliding along on the waves.” —Nogelmeier. The Epic Tale. p. 102. Pau kēia mau ‘ōlelo a ia nei, huli a‘ela kā ia nei nānā ‘ana i Hilo, i ia wā ‘o ia i ‘ike mai ai i ka he‘e mai nā kāne, nā wāhine, a me nā keiki o ia mau wahi i ka pu‘ewai. —Nogelmeier. Ka Mo‘olelo. p. 281. When she’d finished her oath, she turned to gaze at Hilo, where she saw men, women, and children of that land surfing the river mouth. —Nogelmeier. The Epic Tale. p. 262. ‘O ia hele ia o lākou nei a kā‘alo pono ma waho aku o...

Additional Information

ISBN
9780824860325
Related ISBN
9780824834142
MARC Record
OCLC
794925343
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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