FACT 1: Surfing originated in Hawaii and was a deep-seated part of early Polynesian culture and religion. As well as encompassing spiritual links with the ocean and ceremonial rites chiefs would also assert their dominance via surfing skills.
FACT 2: The first written account of surfing by a European was by Lieutenant James King who travelled with Captain Cook on Discovery in 1779. He took over Cook’s journals following his death that year and made a written account of the Hawaiian pastime of surfing.
FACT 3: Hawaiian born George Freeth brought surfing to California in 1907. He stirred up the surfing craze by demonstrating his abilities on the water during a time that tourism was booming. Within six months of his arrival he was performing a surfing act twice a day under the billing “The Hawaiian Wonder.”
FACT 4: Duke Kahanamoku, a Hawaiian five time Olympic medallist swimmer is credited for introducing surfing to Australia in 1915 when he demonstrated board riding techniques in Sydney.
The first official surf contest took place in California in Corona Del Mar in 1928.
FACT 6: There are two versions of surfing: short boarding and long boarding. Short boarding is the more difficult to ride as it moves the surfer a lot faster and is more physical whereas long boarding is easier to stand up and balance on and more suited to mellow waves.
FACT 7: The largest wave ever recorded occurred in Lituya Bay on the southern coast of Alaska in 1958. During an 8.3 level earthquake a wave was recorded at 530 metres.
FACT 8: The world record for the longest surf ride was broken by Panamanian surfer Gary Saavedra in March 2011. He surfed on an artificial wave created by power boat on Lake Gatún, Panama for three hours and 55 minutes.
FACT 9: Big wave surfer Garret Mcnamara of Hawaii broke the world record of large wave riding after conquering a 23.7 metre wave in November 2011. He was surfing off the coast of Portugal’s Praia de Norte.
FACT 10: The first university offer a surfing degree was the University of Plymouth.
See image galleries and film trailers for surfing documentaries from around the world:
The London Surf Film Festival - Surfing and Sharks.
The London Surf Film Festival - El Mar Mi Alma.
The London Surf Film Festival - Raw The Movie.
The London Surf Film Festival - North of the Sun.
The London Surf Film Festival - The Endless Winter.