Geoff Cater Notes about the text accompanying
the Sandwich Island Girl image:
"A close reading [of numerous descriptions of surf riding in
the 1800's] indicates that the writers go to considerable effort to
convey to the reader the elementary characteristics of surf-riding.
They invariably include details that include the board, paddling-out,
wave selection, take-off, riding in various positions, wave sliding
angle and wipe-outs.
Detailed descriptions of the rider's attire are scarce (both the number
of descriptions and the attire).
"I can find none of these features in the article under discussion [i.e. the "Sandwich Island Girl" in the Police Gazette of 1888].
Furthermore, (though I am restricted here to Australian sources)
newspaper reports of the early 20th century have most of the features
found in the early literature.
"As a result of re-examining the early literature, I prepared several
online papers on some of the early reports of surf-riding that may (or
may not) make the above assessment clearer .
I include the titles, http and any pertinent comments..
"Lt. James King : (Two) Descriptions of Hawaiian Surf-riding, 1779.
Significantly, this report specifically notes the characteristics of
the template - probably 16'' wide near the nose and a 9'' tail.
"Charles Stewart : Surf-riding at Lahaina, Maui, 1824
Discussion : "while the waves are breaking on the reef apparently
twenty or thirty feet high."
"Rev. William Ellis : Surf-riding at Waimanu, circa 1820's
Recognition that surf-riding is best attempted at coastal locations
with a specific bottom contours that provide the most suitable wave
"Note that these two accounts have some similarities and the authors
were in contact.
Stewart's work includes an account in Chapter XI of "A Visit to Mr.
and Mrs. Ellis", Pages 232-233?
The Fifth Edition (Enlarged) of 1839 includes an "Introduction by the
Rev. William Ellis, from the London
"John Dean Caton : Surf-riding at Hilo, 1880.
Contains for Blake : the critical empirical data (by noting the
rider's motion relative to the compass points) that dramatically
illustrates that the rider is transversing the wave face.
Source, with difficulty, from Blake (1935).
"Thomas W. Knox : Surfing at Hilo.
Possibly first report of surfing for payment.
Compare and contrast with Caton's report also from Hilo, above.
This is not listed in De Vaga : 200YSL (2004).
I thought I sent the details to Daved, but I am not sure if it has
been added to the Waterlog.
Does this qualify as a find?
"I have started and uploaded ...
Thrum's Hawaiian Almanac and Annual, 1896.
This account has a lot of detail and, unlike Blake, I have more than
one problem with the text.
It requires further work (XXX).
"For anyone familiar with my webpage, navigate by ...
surfreseach.com.au - history - source documents - source documents menu
The source documents menu is chronological, so these entries appear
near the top."
-- Geoff Cater