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Surfing A Sport Language Lifestyle and Religion Since the dawn of time powerful natural phenomena such as hurricanes and distant storms have created majestic waves that grace our every shoreline With ceaseless turmoil their seething energy has shaped our coastlines and recently our cultures Those lucky enough to experience the joy of riding the fluid motion of waves are apprehended by the driving desire to forever be consumed by the pure natural energy they extend In this ethnography I shall examine how surfing has enhanced the lives of millions of people around the world and simultaneously produced a culture unlike no other I PolynesiansHawaiians Surfing was first developed between 1500 BCE and 400 CE by Native Western Polynesians in a culture that truly called the ocean its home Howard 1999 At first the natural art of surfing was reserved particularly for the enjoyment of royalty Consequently chiefs used surfing and other Hawaiian sports under the Kapu system of laws for hundreds of years as competition to maintain their strength agility and command over their people Olney 1965 It also played a vital role in Hawaiian courtship rituals where women were asked to accompany the men on their giant surfboards The royal families had their own prayers chants board shapers wood and private beaches where they alone could surf with others of similar rank Maxwell 1949 King Kamehameha is said to have been an expert surfer and a master of the art of lele-waa or leaping from a wave-riding canoe with a surfboard Holmes 1999 During this time hieroglyphics were carved into the lava-rock landscape and there were chants telling the stories of great surfing feats carrying a symbolic knowledge throughout the generations Meanwhile on the other side of the Earth Stonehenge was a center of religious worship in England and the first tomb was built in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt suggesting the possibility that the sport of kings just
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