Surfing Culture

Hawaii is known for its surfing culture, which looks much different today than in the 1700’s.  For many years, Hawaiian royalty ruled the waters.  The Hawaiian society was split into two social classes, a royal class and the commoner class.  The best surfing spots were reserved for royalty and the commoners were stuck with the lesser spots.  The reason these rules were followed was because the culture believed in the code of kapu (taboos).  The code of kapu dictated everything in the islander’s lives, from what to eat to how to build a canoe or surfboard.

This code even extended to the length of the boards.  The commoners rode boards that averaged 12 feet, whereas the royalty rode boards up to 24 feet long.  These boards were just one of the many ways the upper class showcased their superiority over the lower class.  We can see how some of that surfing etiquette has transpired into today’s surf culture, from local surf spots to wave hierarchy. So, this Surfing infographic explains some stuff.

Talk about it!