From bikinis to wetsuits. Surfer girls filling up the line ups around the world.

From bikinis to wetsuits. Surfer girls filling up the line ups around the world.

Surfing in general currently rides a wave of popularity. From Polynesian origins to the beaches of California, the art of surfing has become a global phenomenon with millions of surfers living to the rhythm of the tides (Hill 2020).  

When it comes to girls, they do fine with housework, raising children, jobs but also riding waves of various sizes. More and more girls are surfing and we are glad to see it. But history says that women have a long tradition in the surf, dating back to ancient  Hawai'i.

Surfing history of Hawaii, circa 1899. (Credit: Library of Congress/Corbis/Getty Images)

 

Women (and men) began surfing in Hawaii and other Polynesia islands at least as far back as the 17th century. And while Christian missionaries tried to suppress surfing in the 1800s, a Hawaiian princess helped bring it back (long before Gidget and Moondoggie hit the beach) (Little 2020). 


But there are Hawaiian myths that surfing was a thing even in ancient times. As Lauren Hill describes in her book She surf (2020), surfing has been part of Hawaiian culture since the fourth century, when Polynesians settled the islands and brought wave riding with them. According to Hawaian myths the first surfer was goddess of volcanoes Pele. She was taught by the shark god ( Kamohaolii). Then she taught her sisters and others folks followed. In Ancient hawaii surfing was for everyone: mothers,grandparents, warriors, princesses and children (Hill 2020: 11).

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