AuthorsDen.com   Join Free! | Login    
   Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!

SIGNED BOOKS    AUTHORS    eBOOKS new!     BOOKS    STORIES    ARTICLES    POETRY    BLOGS    NEWS    EVENTS    VIDEOS    GOLD    SUCCESS    TESTIMONIALS

Featured Authors:  Karin Fleischhaker-Griffin, iA. Colin Wright, iBeverly Scott, iHugh McCracken, iPatricia Sanders, iTom Hyland, iVenkataraman Gopalakrishnan, i

  Home > Sports/Recreation > Articles Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Marion Stratford

· + Follow Me
· Contact Me
· Articles
· 7 Titles
· Save to My Library
· Share with Friends!
·
Member Since: Oct, 2010

Marion Stratford, click here to update your pages on AuthorsDen.




Featured Book
Pirates Revenge
by Doug Boren

Sail with the pirates as they seek revenge against them that's done them wrong!..  
BookAds by Silver
Gold and Platinum Members



When Surfboards Defined A Society
by Marion Stratford   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2010

  Print   Save    Follow    Share 

Recent articles by
Marion Stratford

The Surfboards That Were Meant To Be
From Tree To Sea: The Makahele Koa Chronicles
Surfing: The Sport Of Kings
A Surfer's Quest For Gulf Wax
The Quest For Greg Noll’s Jailhouse Baggies
Tracing The Roots Of The Surfin Swami
           >> View all

Imagine your surfboard defining your place in society. In Ancient Hawaii, it did.

 

Imagine your surfboard defining your place in society. In Ancient Hawaii, it did.

Because surfing, or he’e nalu, was of such a spiritual magnitude in Ancient Hawaii, everything from praying for waves to the art of making boards was ritualistic. And the board you rode determined your place in the society’s pecking order.

Under the kapu system of laws, the ali’i was above all others. The ruling class surfed on one type of board, and the commoners used another. Even the type of wood used further determined social classification.

The Commoner

Commoner surfboards came in three lengths and were mostly constructed of wood from ula and koa trees. The introductory board to he’e nalu was the paipo. 2’- 6’ in length, the finless paipos were much like today’s bellyboards and mostly ridden by women and children.

 

Splitting a koa log

Once accustomed to the rhythm of riding waves, surfers would move on to the alaia. Suitable for standup, an alaia ranged 6’ to 12’ in length and was the forerunner of today’s surfboard.

After mastering the art of surfing, commoners would advance to the kiko’o, a board 12’ to 14’ in length, and, as you can imagine, much more difficult to ride. To master one of these definitely demonstrated one’s proper place at the top of society.

The Ali’i

The ruling class had its own board made of its own wood, the olo. 14’ to 18’ in length, not only was the olo a bigger board, but it was constructed of the more buoyant wood of the wili wili tree. These surfboards were very difficult to maneuver and further defined the class separation of kapu.

Shaping the koa blank with an adz

The ali’i even has their own breaks, and under kapu, any attempt by a commoner to paddle out among the elite was punishable by among other things, death.

Surfboards were sacred, their construction very ritualistic. Kahuna would search in earnest for just the right tree. Once found, they would sacrifice a fish as an offering to the gods and then stand guard over the specimen overnight under prayer.

Finer shaping was accomplished with coral blocks

Only after successful completion of the ritual, could the tree be felled, and once it was cut down, more sacred behavior and prayer was practiced by the kahuna.

First the board was rough-shaped with a tool made of hardened basalt, called an adz. Then, the wood was shaped and planed with coral or stone. Finer shaping was done with various grades of sand. Once shaped, the root of the ti plant or the stain from banana buds was applied as a form of sealant. The board was then treated with kukui oil to give it a glossy finish.

Treating the board with kukui oil

When the surfboard had met the kahuna’s approval, it underwent its final ritual of dedication, and only then was it offered to the sea.

 

* Special thanks to Ron Croci for his brilliant illustrations. See more of his artwork on his website, http://www.roncroci.com.



Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!


Popular Sports/Recreation Articles
  1. Dobbelganger Poker
  2. Origins of the Alpine Club of England
  3. ROLL TIDE!: A legacy…
  4. Drowning?
  5. Walking Saved My Life
  6. The Birth of a Hero
  7. My Introduction to The Future of Tennis
  8. A Crimson (Tide) WAVE

Women College Basketball Coaches by Rosemarie Skaine

_Women College Basketball Coaches_ traces history since 1892 through the current day. Selected women coaches are profiled along with contributors to the game. Also in ebook: 978-0..  
BookAds by Silver, Gold and Platinum Members

The Winning Edge by Aubrey Hammack by Aubrey Hammack

This book is about legendary Coach Billy Henderson from Macon, Georgia, who makes a name for himself first at Lanier High School in Macon, Georgia and later plays college football ..  
BookAds by Silver, Gold and Platinum Members

Authors alphabetically: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen
© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.