Sport of riding breaking waves toward the shore, especially with a surfboard. The sport originated prehistorically in the South Seas. In 1777 and 1778 Capt. James Cook first reported seeing surfers in Tahiti and on Oahu. In 1821 surfing was banned by missionaries who thought it immoral. It was revived in the 1920s by the Hawaiian swimmer Duke Kahanamoku (1890–1968). Today surfing is enjoyed on beaches with breakers throughout the world, and several international championships are held. The goal is to maneuver on the unbroken face of the wave, preferably as far back toward the curl (tube) as possible. In addition to surfboards, surfers can use belly-boards, kneeboards, or kayaks, or they can bodysurf using no board at all.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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