Where Did Surfboards Originate?

July 15, 2022 3 min read

Where did surfboards originate? Several places, including Polynesia, Australia, and Peru. The history of surfboards stretches back to the earliest days of civilization. The earliest known surfboards, though, may have originated in Polynesia. In the 19th century, surfing's popularity waned. It never died completely, though it dwindled. In fact, it continues to grow and change. As surfboards continue to evolve, so too do surfers' skills. There is no end to the potential of surfing!

Polynesia

Did you know that surfboards originated in Polynesia? The Hawaiians have been credited with inventing surfing. The first surfboards were made of wiliwili trees. Royalty made boards up to 16 feet long, but commoners tended to use shorter boards made of denser koa wood. The board would weigh as much as 175 pounds.

Australia

It's easy to forget that Australia is where surfboards originally began. While surfing has a long history in the region, surfing in Australia is unique in that the board was invented there. The continent is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including Bells Beach. And while Australia has plenty of beaches, there are still no other countries where you can buy surfboards. And even if you do, you'll have to pay a little extra for your board if you're not an expert.

Hawaii

Hawaii is where surfboards originated, but what did they look like before they were called surfboards? The ancient Hawaiians may have been the first to surf, but body surfing is believed to have been around for a thousand years. This simple form of surfing was initially a child's game, but developed into a sport for adults, which originated in Eastern Polynesia. Now, surfboarding has become an international sport, with a growing following of experienced surfers, as well as beginner and intermediate riders alike.

Peru

There are a number of theories about where surfboards originated, and Peru is certainly one of them. In fact, surfing began hundreds of miles south of Lima, on the Pacific coast. Since then, surfboards have come a long way from their early forebears, the alaia surfboards that were hand-crafted for the Polynesian royalty in the 18th century. These boards were thin and medium-sized, making it easier for surfers to stand and ride the waves.

Peruvian Culture

There is a long history between surfing and Peruvian culture. Carlos Dogny, a playboy jet-setter from Lima, introduced surfing to the country in the 1930s. The playboy jet-setter would leave Lima during the winter for climes far from Lima's bitter cold. In the late 1930s, Dogny visited Hawaii and sampled the sport. He was hooked.

Balsa Wood

It was the Hawaiians who first developed the concept of a surfboard, and it quickly spread to the US west coast. Surfers soon began to experiment with different types of wood, and balsa wood became the most popular option. Unlike traditional redwood boards, balsa boards were lighter and easier to handle. However, their buoyancy made them inferior to more durable woods. Therefore, balsa boards have a long history.

Wood-Crafter

It is not clear exactly who invented surfboards, but they were made of wood, and the first boards were made of wood by a sawyer named Charles Pyle. The method he devised was eventually patented and used by many others. It was this method that made surfboards popular and allowed mass production. Even though the first surfboards were made of wood, the process paved the way for the evolution of the sport.

Evolution of the Surfboard

During the early 90's, removable fin systems were introduced. These systems allowed surfers to remove the fins without damaging them. This gave them the ability to change the board's riding characteristics as desired. This system also opened up the market to a variety of fin designs. Single foiled fins became the most popular, followed by concave inside surfaces and curved fins. A sleek bendable attachment was also developed by Pat O'Neill.



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