Did Vikings Invent Surfing?

June 15, 2022 4 min read

Did Vikings invent surfing? If Vikings were the first to board a ship and ride waves, then it's possible they knew about surfing. Perhaps they used the waves as transportation, or learned to surf. Or maybe they did it because of their belief in the concept of Valhalla, a place where the dead can reunite with their loved ones. Whatever the case, it's worth wondering.

Origins of Surfing

It is not known how surfing was invented, but it is believed that it originated in Polynesia around the year 1760, when Europeans first saw the natives perform pirouettes in the waves. In ancient Polynesian societies, the best surfer was considered the chief of the tribe. Captain James Cook first visited the Hawaiian Islands in 1769 and witnessed surfing by the natives of the island of Tahiti. This was the origin of surfing as the name He'enalu means "wave slider."

Polynesians first settled on the Hawaiian Islands, where they used a board that had round tips. The Hawaiians offered their boards to the god of the ocean, Kanaloa, and used them to ride waves standing up. Polynesians also used rafts to paddle out onto the ocean, and Peruvians surfed from a totora reed horse. While the Hawaiians may have invented surfing as a leisure activity, surfing was not widespread until the early twentieth century when many famous surfers rose to fame.

Origins of Bodysurfing

Bodysurfing originated in Brazil. In the 1940s, Luiz Antonio Pereira's father caught a wave at Leme beach. The sport was initially practiced without fins, straight in toward the beach, and using a narrow plywood board with two handles in the middle. The shaper, who lived in Leme, would teach people to use the board. Eventually, the sport spread to other parts of the world, including Europe.

Today, bodysurfing is widely practiced throughout the world, but the sport had no history in the beginning. In fact, it was banned in most countries by missionaries, who did not like the competitive nature of the sport. But as the sport grew in popularity, it spread to other regions. In the late 1800s, Kelly became a symbol of bodysurfing and was hanged in Melbourne. It was also banned in the U.S. in the 1930s and the 1940s, as missionaries deemed it immoral.

Origins of Tow-In Surfing

Tow-in surfing is a form of artificial assistance that allows surfers to catch bigger waves. The invention of tow surfing was born out of the desire for big waves, especially those that were over 30 feet high. It broke this barrier, and soon gained international attention and became one of the most popular forms of surfing. Tow-in surfing was also a great way to introduce teamwork and partnerships into the sport.

The tow-in surfing trend has its roots in Hawaii, where the surf legend Laird Hamilton grew up. Today, he lives on Maui, home to the best big wave surf spot on the planet. The surf break known as Jaws is located on Maui and produces waves that are thirty to sixty feet high. Tahiti is another location that is renowned for its massive waves. A helicopter can also travel faster than a personal watercraft, enabling the surfers to experience a better quality of wave.

Origins of Twin Fin Setup

In 1980, Simon Anderson developed a three-fin setup, one on each side of the board, positioned centrally behind the twin fins. Known as the thruster set-up, it quickly gained popularity and became the dominant fin configuration in surfing. Thrusters enable the rider to turn and carve turns with greater control and manoeuvrability. They also hold well in powerful, steep surf and tube conditions.

The Twin Fin was first used by Reno Abellira in the mid-1970s. In 1976, he rode a fish with twin fins on a small day of the 2SM Coke Surfabout. Abellira had previously discarded twin fins for a more traditional wave board and had favored an Aipa Sting. Abellira later returned to the concept, and in 1978, he developed a new board, the Bumble Bee, with twin fins on both sides. The Bumble Bee had a bulbous nose and measured 5'11" long by 22" wide.

Impact of Vikings on Surf Culture

The Vikings, known as the Norse, ruled over the seas, building a city on the spot. Their presence helped shape trade routes and industry. While many people associate the Norse with barbarians and monsters, the Vikings were complex and revolutionary. They were skilled seafarers, skilled craftsmen, and possessed an iconic religious pantheon. Now, Western Carolina University history professor Vicki Szabo is studying the Vikings and their environment. With a team of fourteen researchers, she is studying the Vikings and the marine mammals that inhabit the area.

The Vikings made an impact on Ireland's Liffey Valley and its coastline, with a series of fortifications and river revetments. They were also responsible for major ship repairs and residential dwellings. As a result, the Vikings stopped attacking monastic communities in Ireland and started to form alliances with the community, working out protection taxes and other forms of cooperation. In addition to forming peace treaties, the Vikings continued to use the Irish coastline as a trading port, exporting Irish gold, silver, and slaves.

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