Before surfing it is important to consider the potential dangers that come with it. The first to think about is the marine life. Sharks are probably the first thing that comes to mind, but jellyfish and sting rays are other potential threats in the water. Chances are you won’t be coming face to face with a great white shark, but you should still be cautious, if you see a shark or a fin you should paddle the opposite way- ideally towards shore- and warn anyone else in the water with you. Dolphins, seals, and sea lions are some other animals that you could potentially come in contact with; though they aren’t threats it’s still good to keep an eye out for them when in the water.
The ocean itself presents some dangers to take note of before you go surfing. The severity and prevalence of these conditions depend on where you surf. Riptides, strong currents and high surf advisories are three common examples of conditions that can potentially be very dangerous. Riptides are strong currents, they usually occur in more confined areas like inlets. If you find yourself stuck in one you should let it take you, don’t fight it, it won’t take you very far and once you are out of it you can swim back to shore. The other strategy to try is to swim parallel to the shore line and once you’ve escaped it you can make your way back to shore. Strong currents can be determined from shore or the lack of people in the water- swim or surf at your own risk. When a high surf advisory is put out it means that there are dangerous wave conditions that could result in injury, death, or property damage to those living near the cost.
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Skateboarding originated in the early 1950’s, it was a phenomenon started by surfers in California. They wanted something to do when the waves were too flat to ride. The first skateboards were constructed out of two by fours and wheels from roller skates. The first name for this was sidewalk surfing and it was originally done barefoot, just like surfing. Small surf companies started mass producing and selling skateboards in the 1960’s. Before skate parks were created people would skateboard in empty concrete in ground pools- this is what lead up to the formation of the parks. In the early 1970’s polyurethane wheels were invented and used on skateboards instead of clay wheels that were originally used- they were not safe and lead to many skateboarding related injuries. The peak of this fad was in the early 1960’s, but after these new wheels became more widely used it gave the sport the push it needed to become more popular again.
In the 1980’s vert ramp skateboarding (half pipe skateboarding) was all the rage, but it wasn’t an affordable trend. Most people couldn’t afford to build or buy a half pipe, this lead to the increase in popularity of street skating, the trend of the 1990’s. As the sport evolved so did the size, shape, and style of the skateboards used.
Surfing is an ancient Hawaiian tradition. It was part of the native Hawaiian culture- with ties in religion, society, and the myths of the islands. It was common to ride the waves both sitting down and standing up. In the late 1700s, European explorer Captain James Cook and his crew witnessed this tradition for the first time on one of several expeditions through the Pacific. Though we know surfing started long before this, it was never documented by anyone from the western world before. It is thought that it originated from the Polynesian culture. They migrated to several pacific island regions form Asia as early as 2000 B.C. and up to the fourth century A.D., including what is now known as Tonga and Samoa, the Marquesas, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Hawaii. The Polynesians rode the waves on what they called “belly boards”, which is similar to modern day boogie boarding. It was in Hawaii where the technique of surfing standing up on longboard surfboards was mastered.
In the early 1800s missionaries from England went to Hawaii and tried to force their Calvinist Christian views on the natives, though they were resistant at first they became more accepting of these views (but they didn’t have much of a choice). The missionaries made them learn to read and write and get jobs. They thought that the Hawaiians “played” too much, so they set restrictions on that as well; this included restrictions on surfing. The harsh restrictions on the native Hawaiian lifestyle eventually caused a loss of interest in the sport of surfing. By the late 1800s only about 40,000 native Hawaiians were still alive, this was due to the contact between them and the Europeans that started in the 1700. Many natives died from disease, alcohol, and other substances that were new to them, brought to their islands from Europe. The sport had not completely died out; natives as well as brave visitors of the islands still went surfing. 1898 was the year Hawaii became United States territory, this was a major turning point in surfing history.