Ancient surfers

I’ve spent the last few days reading about ancient surfboards mainly around the alaia style of board… How thin these things are! 1/2" to an 1 1/2" and with the weight of the wood used there not going to be all that bouyant at all. One of the articals i read Wally Foiseth and Fan Heath copied one from the bishop museum. It didn’t float at all with them on it but one of there grand kids could but it wouldn’t go for to long without sinking. But these boards were surfed how did they do it???

After seeing a bodyboarder this afternoon it made me think speed!! maybe they weren’t paddled just with there arms into waves like today…

Also after looking at the “beach boys” boards they are much thicker 3" or more so there not the same Alaia boards.

Any thoughts???

"Any thoughts??? "


…just go surfing !


…just go surfing !

NOW you’re talking. At last , someting we AGREE on.


14’ of length makes up for lots of thinness.

Float isn’t the most important factor for wave catching and surfing.

Paipo boards barely float, but some very knowledgeable surfers see them as the fastest vehicles for wave riding…not powered by a motor.

“…The wooden boards and knowledge of the ancients long ago rotted and passed into oblivion. The sophistication of construction of the few remaining examples of original style pre-contact wave sliding boards are extremely revealing. Exact tolerances are consistently held despite the fact that these papa hehe nalu were crafted by hand using stone tools. Their sophisticated parabolic contours are proof of the ancient’s advancement. Clearly the Kanaka Maoli Kupuna knew things about the riding of waves that we don’t know now. After all, their surfing history dated back for at least a couple of thousand years while our modern period, since production foam/fiberglass, is about thirty-five years old. The level of surfing today is different but not necessarily better. Advancment is in the eye of the beholder…”

Hot Curl: surfboard history by Craig Stecyk - The Surfer’s Journal, Summer 1994 - Volume 3, No. 2

Wow! thats grass roots! whats the story behind these??

Pure stoke, no money, lots of ingenuity, and a talent for riding waves…

And don’t forget… style

over simplification,over active egocentric attitudes and fixation on metal and petrochemical based tecknoweledgezeicx…isolate us th victims of our dispplaced ''modern culture from percieving fully the level of sophistication possible in a ''stone and wood based culture.

lets start with exactitude in making tools.

the stone adze wasn’t a club with a rock tied to the end.

these tools were highly selected branch crotches,not found on the ground in a ditch by the side of the road thes were likely to be selected grain from deep in the bowels of an ancient hardwood tree,

if not grown specificly for tool handles

the stone ends were honed from fine grained basalt in streambeds

like water tooled by stone experts sitting streamside

tooling with other stones of higher density and polished and sharpened to highly attenuated edges.

Lets not forget fire.

tempering of wooden objects in fire was revealed to me 15 or twenty years ago

'Kauwila was used for spearheads [it sinks in water] then sharpened…

volcanic glass likely used as fine edged planes as well as adze heads were obvious to even casual rumination.

north american tribes and fine arrowheads are evidence to the fact that

sophistication was possible…

the covers from the breadfruit bud is a high quality wetsand implement

add in that craftsmen were sponsored by the ALII

and trained successively by generation after generatiion

these guys ‘spiritually’ charged their tools

wether you believe in christ or jehova budda or muhamad or the great spirit the power of human belief in that stuff is measurable.

add that into the equation and these highly crafted products are way sophisticated.

Riders were sponsored by the royal classes…they were the royal classes!

you think little Laird grew to magnum proportions ?

make a guess about these hawaiian ALII

over six foot built like supermen swimming machines

trained from birth to SURF THE BEST…






the weight the floatation were penetrating the soul of the water planet

how bout these boards may not have been designed to rise out of the wave face?

our wave riding concepts are perhaps more infantile than we would collectivly choose to believe

the advancements of contemporary materials stifle us as well as open alternative possibilities.

for example the curent opening in the veil of awareness concerning the stand up paddle…

the kuk necssity of a big wide board will eventually be eclipsed by narrower and narrower boards …

perhaps these 17-twenty five foot olos were propperly opperated with stand up paddles while submerged 4-5 inches under water…

think about it…

are you done yet ?

well think about it for 50 generations spoonfed surfing and craft

and maybe we could get a clue,

not an answer

but just a clue to the riddles that will eternally plague us the inheritors of questions and beliefs…

the evidence was burried with the grandfathers

the remnants of their work was degradeable

digested into the mysteries of the ages.

wrap your hand arround an old stone tool and feel the MANA bubble up from the ages

like new air from the bottom of a deep still pool

of salt water in the deep lagoon

hold your mouth just right and breathe in the new air

as it bursts through the surface and hold it ,

dont just exhale like it wasn’t special

its another answer as infusion from the all knowing water planet.


what do we know?

…not much…

how was that dale?

agent x

stream of thought

with my bare feet

connected to the ages at waipouli





mat surfed the big rips

at abbeys channel and waimau




my waipouli cells

are charged

thanx for the stim

…stim cell reasearch…

when the truth gets buried deep

beneath a thousand years deep

time demands a turn around

once agian the truth is found.

lost words from donovan’s “the hurdy gurdy man” theses word by george harrison.

I recall reading somewhere that the ancient Hawaiians would actually tow into larger waves behind fast paddling canoes. Full circle, eh.

canoe leaping

those evolved masters would leap from the spars on the outrigger,iiakos?

towing ,I dont believe was the method consistant with the drippless trim concept that ,for me was the basis of the mindset quest.

modern surfing is to do with stalling to quickly accelerate

much in common with the waterskiing crossover leanback.

posture is everything

…to posturre with the ultimate goal of pacific crossing with the

natural forces…

this a far cry from stalling to get the money shot of ““in the tube””

or draging behind a power boat until getting an overt burst of speed to accelerate down swell into the pit of the open Maw of the most thrilling dynamic moment in the history of technicaly applied motorcraft release.


we lay on the mats that held our former breath

the stormy sea arround us

the waves intermittent way offshore

waiting for our imminent oppertunity alone

from behind a juvinille albatross

passes overhead

shocking because of the altitude

about 3 maybe 4 feet

kinda like a check out

and then another passes as well

they moved up the line into the wind

static winged surfers

riding the updraft

on the ground swells crossing the reef at this ancient site.

banking and economising effort

these 4 pound evolved wonders of creation

what greater inspiration to the mind of

an escapee from civilized chaos.

Hm. I think Stecyk’s claim of several thousand years of surfing puts him outta his tree. I’ll not argue that the Hawaiians (who came from the, um, Marquesas? originally) surfed as long as they were in Hawaii (since about 800 AD, best evidence to date), but I doubt they surfed back where they came from. Anyone dispute that?

Funny thing too, I just saw that second shot of the guy surfing backside on a plank, last night in the “Book of Waves” photos by many, text edited by Drew Kampion. It came out maybe ten years ago or longer, a coffee table book, full of awesome shots.


…I’ll not argue that the Hawaiians (who came from the, um, Marquesas? originally) surfed as long as they were in Hawaii (since about 800 AD, best evidence to date), but I doubt they surfed back where they came from. Anyone dispute that?

Marquesas? Not the Polynesian tree? I’ve heard that but it seems like an over-effort to disprove the obvious.

A serious question, not a smartazz remark.

in the story telling tradition

coming down outa the tree makes the story.

easily recognised stecyk hiding amongst the leaves

has spun many a tale,all in favor of a good story

polynesians surfed to hawaii on voyaging canoes.

Eight hundreds of years? the first yarn spinner hasn’t got a chance

the next yarn to be better will have to be bigger.

Mark Twain called em stretchers,they aint lies

they just stretch the truth a little.

the best evidence has often been overtaken

by a good story later proven true

like any hypothesis determines the parameters of the tests

we are still simply short of adequate information to prove,

to our esteemed scientific community ,

beyond a shadow of a doubt beyond 800 anto domini.

To a story teller what’s a mere eight hundred years?


the fact that it may rival the nebulous A.D. itself

is a threat to some but yet another inspiration to others,

to gather more information,or just to enjoy a good story.

The primary ingredient in good listening

as well as good watching of a movie is the suspension of disbelief.

when one excercises this option

the story gets better.

when you see a poorly rendered godzilla saving tokyo

special effect and walk out of the theatre

you miss out on the option of seeing



the god MAUI [HAWAIIAN SUPERMAN] hooked the hawaiian islands

and pulled them to the surface

while his brothers paddled the canoe?

what year was that?

is the ark that noah sailed on the slopes of a mountain in turkey?

what year was that?

was mickey mouse born of a man?

1492 columbus discovered lost at sea

by an aboriginal carribean tribe

that walked there on a land bridge from chezchoslovakia

carrrying un taxed turkish cigarettes

of which they only had one pack left

and columbus only got to smoke

a butt,very impressed he went on

to father the cigarette industry in

spain .But because he failed to

patent or copyright,he died in poverty

while Sir Walter Raliegh

made so much money

he started his own money

issued as stamps to buy waffle Irons.

strange but yes… true.

belief in the Easter Bunny?

those that do often get cool baskets of candy

while others cellebrate the resurection of the son of god…

200 years aint bad.

could it be more?


prove it ?

or go surfin?

whats more important?

denial is a double edged sword.

My pal Chuck Shipman, told me of the chiefs taking their best and fastest paddlers outside of Sunset on giant days. The chief would stand on the ama with board under arm and as the crew started picking up the green ocean swell, the chief would step off onto his board, with the canoe slipping out of the way. This was called leileiwana (lay-lay-vana).early “tow-in?”