a brief history of surfing

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Information about a brief history of surfing

Published on February 4, 2008

Author: Bertrando



Lane Hollister login: lhollist sid: W0159947 date: June 6, 2006 Hw #7 can be seen at: :  Lane Hollister login: lhollist sid: W0159947 date: June 6, 2006 Hw #7 can be seen at: surfing:  surfing Origins Surfing Equipment Surfing Culture Surfing Conditions Origins :  Origins People were surfing in Hawaii by AD 400, but nobody knows when this practice started. Captain James Cook, a British sea captain and explorer, was the first European to witness surfing in Hawaii in the late 1770s. When the missionaries from the United States arrived in 1821, Hawaiian traditions and cultural practices were forbidden or discouraged, which included leisure sports like surfing and holua sledding. By the twentieth century, surfing, along with other traditional practices, had all but disappeared from widespread practice. Some Hawaiians continued to practice the sport and art of crafting boards from local woods. At the start of the twentieth century, Hawaiians living close to Waikiki began a revival of surfing, possibly in protest to the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and they re-established surfing as a sport. In 1908, the sport of surfing reached California, and it then began to spread to other parts of the United States and other countries. Duke Kahanamoku, "Ambassador of Aloha," Olympic medalist, and avid waterman, rightfully introduced surfing to the world, although authors like Jack London wrote about the sport after having attempted surfing on his visit to the islands. Surfing Equipment :  Surfing Equipment Surfing can be done on various pieces of equipment, including surfboards, bodyboards, wave skis, kneeboards and surf mat. Most modern surfboards are made of polyurethane foam (with one or more wooden strips or "stringers"), fiberglass cloth, and polyester resin. An emerging surf technology is an epoxy surfboard, which are stronger and lighter than traditional fiberglass. Equipment used in surfing includes a leash (to keep a surfer's board from washing to shore after a "wipeout", and to prevent it from hitting other surfers), surf wax and/or traction pads (to keep a surfers feet from slipping off the deck of the board), and "fins" (also known as "skegs") which can either be permanently attached ("glassed-on") or interchangeable. In warmer climates swimsuits, surf trunks, or boardshorts are worn; in cold water surfers can opt to wear wetsuits, boots, hoods, and gloves to protect them against lower water temperatures. Surfing Culture:  Surfing Culture Competitive surfing is a comparison sport. Riders, competing in pairs or small groups, are allocated a certain amount of time to ride waves and display their prowess and mastery of the craft. Competitors are then judged according to how competently the wave is ridden, including the level of difficulty, as well as frequency of maneuvers. There is a professional surfing world surfing championship series held annually at surf beaches around the world. Although competitive surfing has become an extremely popular and lucrative activity, both for its participants and its sponsors, the sport does not have its origins as a competitive pursuit. It is common to hear debate rage between purists of the sport, who still maintain the ideal of "soul surfing", and surfers who engage in the competitive and, consequently, commercial side of the activity. A non-competitive adventure activity involving riding the biggest waves possible (known as "rhino hunting") is also popular with some surfers. A practice popularized in the 1990’s has seen big wave surfing revolutionized, as surfers use jet skis to tow them out to a position where they can catch previously unrideable waves (see tow-in surfing). These waves were previously unrideable due to the speed at which they travel. Some waves reach speeds of over 60 km/h; jetskis enable surfers to reach the speed of the wave thereby making them rideable. Jet skis not only allow surfers to ride these waves but allow them to survive wipeouts. In many instances surfers would not survive the battering of the "sets" (groups of waves together) without drowning. Many surfers are seen as territorial, hence the expression "locals only.” The expression "Surf Nazi" appeared in the 1980s to describe territorial and authoritarian surfers. Other surfers, however, known as "soul surfers", hold less aggressive views towards others. These surfers see surfing as more than a sport; it is an opportunity to harness the waves in and to relax and forget about their daily routines. This type of surfing has seen a rise in popularity recently. Global warming, environmental damage, and increasing riparian development may continue to increase pressure on the sport. Global warming may produce bigger waves...or a return, through altering ocean currents, to a new ice age. Oil spills and toxic algae growth can threaten surfing regions. And, many wealthy homeowners have tried to prevent free access to beaches in violation of English and American common law traditions, in which "the strand" is not private property. Some of these stresses may be overcome by building of artificial reefs for surfing. Several have been built in recent years, and there is widespread enthusiasm in the global surfing community for additional projects. However, environmental opposition and rigorous coastal permitting regulations is dampening prospects for building such reefs in some countries, such as the United States Surf Conditions:  Surf Conditions There are a number of factors that influence the shape and quality of breaking waves. These include the bathymetry of the surf break, the direction and size of the swell, the direction and strength of the wind and the ebb and flow of the tide. Swell is generated when wind blows consistently over a large area of open water, called the wind's fetch. The size of a swell is determined by the strength of the wind and the length of its fetch. So, surf tends to be larger and more prevalent on coastlines exposed to large expanses of ocean traversed by intense low pressure systems. Local wind conditions affect wave quality, since the rideable surface of a wave can become choppy in blustery conditions. Ideal surf conditions include a light to moderate strength "offshore" wind, since this blows into the front of the wave. Nowadays, however, surf forecasting is aided by advances in information technology, whereby mathematical modelling graphically depicts the size and direction of swells moving around the globe.

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