Surfs UP

New Passion for the Waves Discovered.

My friend Andrew invited me to the beach with his family, and before I arrived he sent a picture of the surf boards getting waxed and ready to rip. It was a beautiful day in Surf City, NC sun out, not a cloud in the sky. My first day up against the waves, and with no experience it felt overwhelming. I gave it a shot, and countless times I would try to stand but crashed into the waves below. Quitting is not commonly seen in my vocabulary, so there I went, time and time again. Finally, after saying I was going to conquer the next wave, I stood up on the board for the first time. Such a proud moment for myself, always great to be able to achieve a goal you had set for yourself!

“Out of water, I am nothing.”

Duke Kahanamoku

After getting up on the first wave, I found my second wind. I was able to ride several waves that day, eager to get after it the next day. The second and third days were more of the same, successfully riding the waves and learning more about the sport and trying to get better every wave. By no means did I master the sport (plenty of ugly falls and missed waves), but I sure was able to learn from Andrew and now want to go back and hit the waves again!

The Father of Surfing

‘Kahanamoku, nicknamed “The Duke” and “The Big Kahuna,” is considered to be the father of modern surfing. The Hawaiian won five Olympic medals as a swimmer, but he also showed off in the movie industry, politics, and business life.

In 1912, Duke Kahanamoku wrote history for the Hawaiian flag. He won the 100 meter freestyle gold medal, and the 4×200 relay silver medal at the Stockholm Olympic Games. The sports world had a new hero. And he was an accomplished ukulele player.

Duke started touring the world to teach his famous “Kahanamoku Kick” swimming technique. But he would change one country in particular. Forever. On the 23rd December, 1914, the dark-skinned athlete was the star of the first-ever surfing exhibition in Freshwater Beach, Sydney, Australia.

Duke Kahanamoku was the first person to be inducted into both the Surfing Hall of Fame and the Swimming Hall of Fame. He met and worked with Tom Blake, married Nadine Alexander, and served as sheriff of Honolulu (1932-1961).’ [1]

If in doubt, paddle out.

Nat Young

Surfing Timeline

3000-1000 BCE: Peruvian fishermen build and ride “caballitos de totora” to transport their nets and collect fish.
900 BCE: Ancient Polynesians ride “olo” boards as a traditional, religious art form.
1769: Botanist Joseph Banks writes first description of wave riding at Matavai Bay, Tahiti.
1778: Captain James Cook touches the Hawaiian Islands.
1866: Mark Twain tries surfing in Hawaii.
1885: Three Hawaiian princes surf for the first time in the USA, at the San Lorenzo river mouth, in Santa Cruz.
1898: Hawaii is annexed by the USA.
1906: Thomas Edison films surfers for the first time, at Waikiki, Hawaii.
1907: Jack London visits Hawaii and tries surfing at Waikiki, Hawaii.
1907: George Freeth is publicly announced as the “Hawaiian wonder” who could “walk on water”, at Redondo Beach.
1907: Surf Life Saving Association is founded in Australia.
1908: Alexander Hume Ford founds the Outrigger Canoe and Surfboard Club.
1911: Duke Kahanamoku, Knute Cottrell and Ken Winter found Hui Nalu.
1914: Duke Kahanamoku introduces surfing to Australia, at Freshwater Beach.

1987: “California Games” is the world’s first video game featuring surfing.
1992: Kelly Slater wins his first ASP World Tour title.
1995: The Olympic Movement recognizes the International Surfing Association (ISA) as the world’s governing body for surfing.
2000: Laird Hamilton rides the Millennium Wave at Teahupoo, Tahiti.
2005: Clark Foam, producer of 60 percent of the world’s surfboard blanks, shuts down.
2011: Garrett McNamara rides the biggest wave of all time, in Nazaré, Portugal.
2014Gabriel Medina is the first ever Brazilian to win a world surfing title.
2016: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes unanimously for the inclusion of surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. *Check out the full timeline in the source below.

The timeline above was beautifully put together by: [2]

Featured image by: @indeedsaeed


[1], Editor at. “The Extraordinary Surfing Life of Duke Kahanamoku.” Surfertoday,

[2], Editor at. “The Most Important Dates in the History of Surfing.” Surfertoday,

Thank you Schad family for hosting me at the beach and helping me find my new passion. Please get out and surf if you have the chance to, you will not regret it!

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