University of Hawaiʻi Press
John R. K. Clark
Softcover, 495 pp.
Hawaiian Surfing is a history of the traditional sport narrated primarily by native Hawaiians who wrote for the Hawaiian-language newspapers of the 1800s. An introductory section covers traditional surfing, including descriptions of the six Hawaiian surf-riding sports (surfing, bodysurfing, canoe surfing, body boarding, skimming, and river surfing). This is followed by an exhaustive Hawaiian-English dictionary of surfing terms and references from Hawaiian-language publications and a special section of Waikiki place names related to traditional surfing. The information in each of these sections is supported by passages in Hawaiian, followed by English translations. The work concludes with a glossary of English-Hawaiian surfing terms and an index of proper names, place names, and surf spots.
From the back cover: “John Clark, a Hawaiian surfer, lifeguard, firefighter, and historian, has studied Hawaiian, read Hawaiian sources on surfing, and built up a massive file of these texts for analysis and translation. More recently, he has tapped into the growing online database of Hawaiian-language articles on native history and culture that were published from the 1830s to the 1940s. By searching out practically every known reference to Hawaiian surfing, Clark has produced an amazing study of the sport, one that far surpasses any previous work. Furthermore, because he has included so much rich source material here, presented in both Hawaiian and English translation, this compilation will long serve as a treasury of traditional surfing lore–one that allows readers to delve deep and come up with their own understanding of Hawaiian surfing.” –Ben Finney, emeritus professor of anthropology, University of Hawai`i