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Surfing in Hawai'i:: 1778-1930 (Images of America) (Images of America Series) Paperback – June 13, 2011

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Surfing in Hawai'i:: 1778-1930 (Images of America) (Images of America Series) + Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past + Surfing: Historic Images from the Bishop Museum Archives
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Product Details

  • Series: Images of America Series
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Arcadia Publishing (June 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738574880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738574882
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


2012 Ka Palalala Po'okela Award Winner!!! The Hawaiian Book Publishers Association presented "Surfing in Hawaii, 1778-1930" with an Honorable Mention Award in the "Excellence in 'Aloha from across the Sea'" Category (Books published outside Hawaii).

Title: Celebrate the Surfing History of Hawai'i

Publisher: Arcadia Publishing

Date: 6/6/2011

PRLog (Press Release) - Jun 06, 2011 - New from Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series is Surfing in Hawai'i. In vintage photographs, local author and surf historian Timothy Tovar DeLaVega shares the history through more than 200 vintage images giving readers a unique opportunity to reconnect to the history that shaped their community.

When the early European explorers traversed the globe, their journals held numerous accounts of Hawaiians enjoying surfing. Since Europeans of that era were not accustomed to swimming in their own cold waters it must have seemed like a dream to watch naked native Hawaiians riding the waves of a turbulent sea. Nowhere in the ancient world was surfing as ingrained into the culture as on the islands of Hawai'i.

He'e nalu (wave sliding) was the national sport and enjoyed by all. When a swell was up, whole villages were deserted as everyone fled to the beach to test their surfing skills. Legends of famous surf riders were retold in mele (song/chant) and fortunes could be decided on the outcome of a surfing contest. From these shores, modern surfing was born, along with the iconic romantic images of bronzed surfers, grass shacks and hula.

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America's people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit

Title: Postcard history tells Kauai tale

Author: Burl Burlingame

Publisher: Star Advertiser

Date: 7/31/2011

Arcadia hits one out of the park with this nicely produced picture history of the early days of surfing, covering the period from Capt. Cook's first glimpse of board riding to roughly 1930, about the time surfing became more organized. There's a surprising number of images -- naked Hawaiian maidens riding the waves was a popular sort of illustration, apparently -- and the pictures get photographic around the turn of the century. That's the beginning of the Kahanamoku era, and the half-dozen Hawaiian brothers were aquatic superstars. The smart, knowing text is from DeLaVega, who's helped out on occasion by Kahanamoku biographer Sandra Kimberley Hall. The pictures are well chosen and nicely reproduced, and bring alive an era when surfing was largely a local, happily disorganized phenomenon.

From the Author

Aloha... Thanks for checking out our latest book. This book is another T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) effort by a group of surfing historians from across the globe who have combined energy for the third project in 10 years. 
When I was offered this project I felt it could be a golden opportunity to research one of the least understood eras of surfing. So Iʻm proud to say we have more than reached our goals and can present a new source of historical documentation that opens our eyes on the early days of modern surfing. We have been able to track down the oldest documentable photograph of surfing, taken on Niʻihau in 1890. As well as identify many popular but uncredited photos from that era; push back the formation of the beachboys 10 years; present photos previously unpublished and unidentified of the clubs and of early Waikiki; when it was THE surfing spot in the world, along with so much more.
Having the use of a T.E.A.M. of dedicated fanatics has been nothing but a blessing; for support; knowledge and friendship, I can never thank them enough. I never know who will add that extra tidbit that helps move it along, like Dan Pincetch and early postcards; Chris Cook about the 1897 article on the first beachboys; Sandy Hall with prose that moved me to my soul, or Cary Weiss who got this ball rolling by sending Arcadia Publishing to me, at the same time I was starting to wonder what I should do with my massive early Hawaiian photo collection... Now it all seems like it was meant to be and we just hope it spurs more research into this time frame or to use Mark Fragaleʻs lightbulb moment when he realized the common denominator of this time, "The dayz when surfers rode waves on the souls of wood"!
For more information on surfings past, please visit
mahalo e Aloha ke Akua, Timothy Tovar DeLaVega, Hanapepe, HI

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zorro on July 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Two Great Hawaiian Surfing Books" by Ron Mizutani
"I remember my first surfing lesson out at worldfamous Canoes in Waikiki like it was yesterday. I was nearly 8, and a family friend believed my swimming skills were strong enough to learn the sport correctly. He called his friend and asked if he could share his wisdom and knowledge with me. Rabbit Kekai willingly said yes. I had no idea I was learning from a surfing legend. That was 38 years ago. I was recently reminded about that warm summer morning while diving into a great book. There are dozens of surf books for sale at stores and on various Internet sites and most are interesting and solid reading. But it's been awhile since I've come across a book written in our own backyard that had me staying up late at night because I just couldn't put it down.
But it gets better. There are two books out there and both are "must-reads" if you're a surfer or a history buff who wants to learn more about Hawaii.
The first book, Surfing in Hawaii: 1778-1930, is written by Kauai resident and surf historian Timothy DeLaVega. If you love old Hawaiian photos and art and I mean vintage, classic images then this book is for you. DeLaVega has done an incredible job compiling more than 200 surfing images, some never seen before. From a petroglyph to memorable photos of Duke Kahanamoku and Waikiki beachboys, it is obvious DeLaVega has taken great care and time properly identifying each photograph and art work. He says it was one of his main goals in taking on this project with hopes of encouraging and promoting future research like this effort. DeLaVega assembled what he called a "worldwide TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) of dedicated surfing fanatics" to help with this project.
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