COMPETITION, NUDITY, GAMBLING: OUR ANCIENT TRADITIONS.
There is a persistent meme that competitive surfing is a modern madness that sits at odds with the true nature of wave riding. Surfing can be a spiritual experience or an art form or whatever else you want but cutthroat competition has long been a part of it. Board riding contests date back to Ancient Hawaii and were pretty full on as Hawaiian surf historian Tom "Pohaku" Stone explains. "Surf contests were a big part of our ocean culture. The criteria was similar to today: biggest wave, longest ride, but also manoeuvres and style – they counted too. It was very ritualistic, that's the difference. Sometimes if you lost you were killed and sacrificed." Gambling on the outcome of surf meets was also popular in Old Hawaii. The Encyclopaedia of Surfing notes: "stakes included canoes, fishing nets, tapa cloth, or swine; servitude, even life itself, was occasionally put on the line… Surfing was suppressed by missionaries in the 19th century in large part because of the gambling associated with it." The other reason Christian missionaries were left aghast by surfing is that many of its participants cavorted across the ocean entirely naked – especially the wahines. Panel Topic: Should the pro tour go nude and if it did would you bet your best swine on it?
Surely even the most hardened anti-comp soul-surfer could've found pleasure in Mick's J-Bay lines.||