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SURFING HISTORY AND TIMELINE

Surf & Desert

 

History of surfing

Surfing is a sport that is practiced in the great outdoors, as long as there are waves. But, paradoxically, this leisure is better established in developed and highly urbanized countries. As Jean-Pierre Augustin, a pioneer of geography work on sport reminds us, the place and the exact date of the invention of surfing are open to debate.

The oldest traces of his practice probably date back to the end of the 17th century. Surfing as we know it today (half-sport and half-counterculture) has experienced several waves of diffusion (Augustin and Malaurie, 1997). He was born in California at the start of the 20th century.

Its first broadcast is initially much localized: United States, Australia, South Africa. After the Second World War, it experienced a second expansion, notably to Europe.

The beginning of the 21st century marks the beginning of a third stage, with the search for new places of practice, for certain media and for others more confidential.

This last movement is therefore twofold. First, it’s local: we are looking anonymously for a new wave close to home. It is also global: we try to surf the most beautiful waves in the World at least once in our life either by ourselves or learning it at a surf school.

Most experts agree that surfing has its origins in Polynesia (Plantin, 2006).

Surfing similar to that practiced today is described by several sources dating back over 300 years. The first reports on this subject would be those of Samuel Wallis (1767) and Joseph Banks (1769).

The history of modern surfing goes through Hawaii, the first territory through which this sport will be publicized and disseminated around the world (Coëffé et al., 2012). Considered an act of depravity, surfing was prohibited there by American missionaries throughout the 19th century.

 It reappeared at the start of the 20th century, under the impetus of Duke Kahanamoku (Olympic swimming champion and showbiz star).

 

Free surfers

Depending on their approach to skiing, surfers can indeed be classified into two categories: "self-managed" or "federal" (Sayeux, 2010). These two worlds are essentially dissociated by the mode of learning.

Either we learn to be a surfer in the traditional way, by responding to certain initiation rites, or you learn to surf, by taking courses in school or club in addition to learn Yoga.

The first learning mode allows integration into ephemeral groups of free surfers. The second mode gives technical skills and teaches the rules of good conduct on the water, which are sometimes overlooked by the former.

If this kind of signage is mandatory at the entrance of clubs, it is information that is encountered quite rarely in the spaces preferably frequented by free surfers.

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