COM­PE­TI­TION, NU­DITY, GAM­BLING: OUR AN­CIENT TRA­DI­TIONS.

Tracks - - Stuff We Dig -

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?

SPARKES

Surely even the most hard­ened anti-comp soul-surfer could've found plea­sure in Mick's J-Bay lines.||

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