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Illustration: Surf-Bathing at Hilo
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Illustration: Surf-Bathing at Hilo

Thomas Knox’s “Surf-Bathing at Hilo” Illustration

Thomas Knox's Surf-Bathing at Hilo Illustration

license: public domain
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: Thomas Knox (1835–1896)

A black and white line illustration depicts three native Hawaiians surfing in the nude. One of them is riding a small wave, another has fallen off of his board, and another floats leisurely in the background.


Illustration: 1889


This illustration is featured in Thomas Knox’s The Boy Travellers in Australasia (1889). The drawing depicts Hawaiian surfing prior to the suppression of the sport in the 19th century and its resurgence, spread, and transformation in the 20th century. The athletes here appear to be riding alaia, an ancient surfboard comparable to modern boards, though lacking any fin.

Related Articles

Hawaiian Ancient Surfing


Warshaw, M. (2010). The history of surfing. Chronicle Books.

Finney, B. R., Houston, J. D., & Finney, B. R. (1996). Surfing: a history of the ancient Hawaiian sport. Pomegranate Artbooks.

Handy, E. S. (1965). Ancient Hawaiian civilization: a series of lectures delivered at the Kamehameha schools. Tuttle Publishing.