World Surf History

Surfing was probably born during the pioneering travels on the Pacific waters by the Polynesian or Peruvian people around four thousands years ago. There’s evidence which suggests that fisherman from Peru used straw canoes called “Caballito de Tottora” as fishing boats and rode waves when returning to shore. Dropping into waves staying tall on their feet manoeuvring their canoes until reaching the shore.

According to history the first accidental reports about surfing date from the year 1779 when captain James King took Commander James Cooks tasks after his murder. One of those tasks was to detail and report the situations that could be curious and interesting. Between many of those written reports there is a detailed report about the act of surfing amongst the local indigenous people from Kealakekul Bay in the Kona Coast of the Big Island (Hawaii).

He wrote:
“The biggest fun takes place in the water, where a big sea and waves break at the shore, men, sometimes 20 or 30, go into the water when there is no swell and lay down on a oval plan piece with similar size as their self’s, they maintain their legs together above that piece and use their arms to drive the board, afterwards they wait for the big swell to come in the direction off the shore and then all together they pull to the front with their arms to maintain in the top, this gives them great speed, but, the biggest art is to drive correctly the board in the right direction above the swell as this constantly changes its’ shape.(…)The majority of them are caught by the break of the swell, they try to avoid this force diving and swimming underwater to a place faraway from the impact zone.
Due to this exercise, we can say that these people are almost amphibious. The women can swim to our ship, spend half the day in the water and then return later.

The diversion mentioned above its’ only understood as a diversion, not a competition of skills, and when a softer swell comes in it looks to me very pleasant, at least they seem to take big pleasure from the movement that this exercise provides.”

Later on………
In 1779 surfing laying down on boards or staying tall was part of the Hawaiian culture. The royalty and the rest of the local chiefs used to demonstrate how expert they were by their surf abilities.

It is not yet possible to identify with precision the origin or date of the evolution of this social practice of the Hawaiians because there is no evidence from the ancient migratory movements. However its’ accepted that the people who afterwards went to live in Polynesia and Hawaii came from Asia 2000 years before Christ.
Even if surfing wasn’t created in Hawaii at least it was where it was largely developed by all society. Hawaiian history is full of love and power and challenges that were solved by the surf abilities of the concurrent.

Surf was so integrated into the society that they even had rules applying to the people outlining who could surf in certain beaches or reefs, with what board and in what surfing position (laying down or standing up). There were for example rules and punishments for people who surfed forbidden waves or the fact that anyone who dropped in (steels the wave off another surfer who had the priority to catch it because they are the closest surfer to the breaking point of the wave) on someone important, could even be sentenced to death.

Surf Chants, prayers, building boards, rituals and surf gods were all over the local culture until the time when the occidental people started emigrating to the islands.

Brief History of Surfing in Portugal

It is not possible to define with full certainty the beginning of surfing in the world and also it is not possible to be sure about the Portuguese reality, but below are some important dates and events from the Portuguese Surf History:

In 1946 was created in Carcavelos and Parede the 1st Bodysurf Club of Portugal, by this time people surfed with cork boards and they were lying on their boards .

Surfing as we know it nowadays with surfboards started in Portugal in the late 50s, early 60s with planks acquired in Biarritz – France , that was by than the center of European surfing, a result probably due to the presence of U.S. troops in the country during and after the 2nd world war, which brought the surfboards from the iconic California that was living a huge surf-boom since the late 50´s.

The Portuguese pioneer of surfing in Portugal, considered the father of surfing in Portugal was a surfer named Pedro Lima, who lived by that time an authentic adventure as there were no surfboards, wetsuits or surf magazines (neither surfers).

Among other adventures can be mentioned as an example the number of times that the first Portuguese surfers were stopped by the maritime authorities on the beaches because they didn’t knew what a surfboard was so they thought the first surfers were swimmers that didn’t respected the red flags for no swimming!

Since then surf grew slowly in it first years until the early 80´s when after the portuguese revolution in 1974 things got in to much different perspective and there was definitely a much more open mind for new things and for things that were coming from other countries!

In 1987 Portugal was represented for the 1st time while National Surf Team at the Teams European Surfing Championships – the Eurosurf 87 , held in France and that our team finished at a credible 4th place.

In 1988 the Portuguese Surfing Federation was created.

In 1989 took place the 1st National Surf Circuit composed only on 3 events and was won by a local surfer from Caparica named Bruno Charneca “Bubas”.
Also this year Portugal organized the Teams European Surf Championship, the Eurosurf 89 held in Aveiro and Portugal finished in a good 3rd place .
Also in 1989 and for the 1st time it was held in Portugal a World Surfing Championship, won by the pro surfer Rob Bain with over 2000 people watching at the beach on a very rainy day.

In 1990 there was a worldwide recognition of the quality of Portuguese waves through media exposure of a spectacular Championship in Ericeira – The Buondi Pro.

In 1991 takes place the 1st national championship with prize money, also on that year the national Surfer – Dapin became European Vice Champion of Surfing.

In 1992 the Portuguese National Team finished 9th place in their 1st entrance on the Teams World Amateur Championship.
Also this year Surf arrived on TV on a daily base through Sic Television program “Portugal Radical” which became a cult program of a generation of young Portuguese and made surfing known to everyone through the nation.

In 1993 started the Portuguese Youth National Circuit, that revealed from there on every year new promises and future champions.

In 1996 the Portuguese National Team finished 7th in the World Surfing Games (sort of Surf Olympics that replaced the former World Amateur Championship).
Also this year for the 1st time Portugal received the elite athletes from the World Tour Surfing Championship – the 1st division of World Surf – for history is the victory of the national surfer Bubas over the by than 4 time world champion – Kelly Slater. Also in 1996 Portugal became European Junior Champion .

In the year 2000 Tiago Pires “Saca” by than a 18 years old ended in 2nd in one of the most iconic events of the World Surf at Sunset Beach – Hawaii, in what was probably the most visible evidence that Portugal was a growing surf nation.

In 2008 Portugal saw for the 1st time a national Surfer – Tiago Pires “Saca” among the top 44 best surfers in the world to compete in the “1st Division” World Tour of Surfing.

Since 2010 that the village of Peniche has been part of the World Tour of Surfing with consistent good waves year after year as well as consistent audience at the beach with 35,000 on some of the competitions days.

Besides this main event Portugal has been holding 2 other very important events called “Prime” in Azores and in Cascais, this events gather some of the best surfers in the world that are trying to reach the best top44 surfers of the WT. Since 2012 Portugal is considered one of the best places in the world for big wave surfing thanks to Garret MacNamara performances at Praia do Norte beach in Nazaré where he even establish the world record (by the Guiness Records) for the biggest wave ever surfed! This was probably the most well spread news regarding Portugal and Surf through out the world, with millions of visualizations on the internet and tv news…

More recently portuguese surfers as Vasco Ribeiro, Marlon Lipke (that was even one year on the Top44) Nicolau Van Rup and Frederico “Kikas” Morais have been achieving amazing results in international competitions where the highlight was the award for Kikas as the 2013 rookie of the Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing.