Photo: Hawaiian Man with Alaia Surfboard

Photo: Hawaiian Man with Alaia Surfboard

Hawaiian Man with Alaia Surfboard

Hawaiian Man with Alaia Surfboard

license: public domain
source: Wikimedia Commons
author: anonymous

A black and white photograph frames a native Hawaiian man holding a traditional alaia surfboard, staring out over the sea. O’ahu’s Diamond Head hangs prominently in the background.


Photograph: 1890


This anonymous photograph shows a Hawaiian surfer with a traditional alaia surfboard, an ancient board comparable to modern models, though lacking any fin. This photograph is a record of Hawaiian surfing during the suppression of the sport in the 19th century, during which it nearly died out. In the 20th century, the sport experienced a resurgence and spread among Western audiences, revitalizing this traditional Hawaiian sport.

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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.