Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The sport was also recorded in print by Augustin Kramer and other European residents and visitors who wrote about and photographed Samoans surfing on planks and single canoe hulls; Samoans referred to surf riding as fa'ase'e or se'egalu. Edward Treager also confirmed Samoan terminology for surfing and surfboards in Samoa.
When the missionaries from Scotland and Germany arrived in 1821, they forbade or discouraged many Polynesian traditions and cultural practices, including, on Hawaii, leisure sports such as surfing and holua sledding. By the 20th century, surfing, along with other traditional practices, had all but disappeared. Only a small number of Hawaiians continued to practice the sport and the art of crafting boards.
The Ancient Hawaiian people did not consider surfing a mere recreational activity, hobby, extreme sport, or career as it is viewed today. Rather, the Hawaiian people integrated surfing into their culture and made surfing more of an art than anything else. They referred to this art as heʻe nalu which translates into English as “wave sliding.” The art began before entering the mysterious ocean as the Hawaiians prayed to the gods for protection and strength to undertake the powerful mystifying ocean. If the ocean was tamed, frustrated surfers would call upon the kahuna (priest), who would aid them in a surfing prayer asking the gods to deliver great surf. Prior to entering the ocean, the priest would also aid the surfers in undertaking the spiritual ceremony of constructing a surfboard.
In 1907 George Freeth was brought to California from Hawaii, to demonstrate surfboard riding as a publicity stunt to promote the opening of the Los Angeles-Redondo-Huntington railroad owned by Henry Huntington, who gave his name to Huntington Beach. Freeth surfed at the Huntington Beach pier and traveled up and down the coast demonstrating surfing and life guard skills.
Surfing on the East Coast of the United States began in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1912 when James Matthias Jordan, Jr. captivated the locals astride a 110-pound, 9-foot Hawaiian redwood board. "Big Jim's" board, given to him by his uncle, is believed to have originally been 12–15 feet tall, but was whittled from a round nose into an arrow-like shape. Virginia Beach has since become one of the centers of East Coast Surfing, and is host to the East Coast Surfing Championships.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Bill Richard was responsible for producing and selling the first retail skateboard out of his surf shop in Los Angeles, California.
A number of surfing manufacturers such as Makaha began making skateboards that resembled small surfboards, and assembling teams to promote their products. The popularity of skateboarding at this time spawned a national magazine, Skateboarder Magazine. The growth of the sport during this period can also be seen in sales figures for Makaha, which reported $10 million in skateboard sales between 1963 and 1965. Yet by 1966 the sales had dropped significantly and Skateboarder Magazine stopped publication.
An advertisement for Cadillac Wheels
Skateboarders recognized the advantage with the improved quality of their skateboards and began inventing new tricks. During the 1976 California drought, Skateboarders began riding the vertical walls of swimming pools that were left empty due to water conservation requirements. This started the "vert" trend in skateboarding. Another style of skateboarding, the "freestyle" movement, was developing into a much more specialized discipline. Freestyle skateboarding placed emphasis on a wide assortment of flat-land tricks.
A young Greg Noll shredding flat-land
Skateboarding in the 1980s was supported by skateboard companies that were owned by skateboarders. The focus was initially on vert ramp skateboarding. The invention of the no-hands aerial (later known as the ollie) by Alan Gelfand in Florida in 1976 and the almost parallel development of the grabbed aerial by George Orton and Tony Alva in California made it possible for skaters to perform airs on vertical ramps. While this wave of skateboarding was sparked by commercialized vert ramp skating, a majority of people who skateboarded during this period never rode vert ramps. Because most people could not afford to build vert ramps or did not have access to nearby ramps, street skating gained popularity.
Legendary Tony Alva of the Zephyr skateboard team shredding a pool in your mom's backyard
Freestyle skating remained healthy throughout this period with pioneers such as Rodney Mullen inventing many of the basic tricks of modern street skating such as the Impossible and the kickflip. The influence freestyle had on street skating became apparent during the mid-eighties, but street skating was still performed on wide vert boards with short noses, slide rails, and large soft wheels. Skateboarding, however, evolved quickly in the late 1980s to accommodate the street skater. Since few skateparks were available to skaters at this time, street skating pushed skaters to seek out shopping centers and public and private property as their "spot" to skate.
Rodney Mullen -- this man needs no introduction.
Public opposition and the threat of lawsuits, forced businesses and property owners to ban skateboarding on their property. By 1992, only a small fraction of skateboarders remained as a highly technical version of street skating, combined with the decline of vert skating, produced a sport that lacked the mainstream appeal to attract new skaters.
The current generation of skateboards is dominated by street skateboarding. Most boards are about 7¼ to 8 inches wide and 30 to 32 inches long. The wheels are made of extremely hard polyurethane and the wheel sizes are relatively small so that the boards are lighter, and the wheel's inertia is overcome quicker, thus making tricks more manageable. Board styles have changed dramatically since the 1970s but have remained mostly alike since the mid-1990s. The contemporary shape of the skateboard is derived from the freestyle boards of the 1980s with a largely symmetrical shape and relatively narrow width. This form had become standard by the mid '90s.
Since 2000, attention in the media and products like skateboarding video games, children skateboards and commercialization have all forced skateboard to more and more mainstream venues. The benefit of this is that culturally, skateboarding is becoming more accepted in society and negative stereotypes are being changed. Skateboarding is even being considered as an Olympic sport.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Stay tuned for more...