Most experts and sources agree that surfing (Mele he'h NALU) would have its origins in Hawai'i, even if it was practiced in various forms, such as body surfing, throughout Polynesia. Surfing similar to that practiced today, i.e. standing on a board, is described by Western sources such as Captain James Cook, the first European to discover (in 1778) the Hawaiian Islands, which he baptizes Sandwich Islands in honor of its patron.
The oldest known surfboard to date was discovered in 1905 in Ko'Okena, on the Big Island of Hawai'i, inside a tomb. Archaeologists believe that it was the burial of a "chief" named Kaneamuna, who reigned at the beginning of the 14th century. Made at the bottom of the breadfruit, this board was found in perfect condition.
Surfing was a highly codified practice made famous by Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, who used his great notoriety to become a true ambassador for surfing. He was even innovative in this field by inventing new figures. He is considered the inventor of modern surfing and it is for this reason that he is honored by the city of Huntington Beach in California.
Longboards (or long boards), reserved for chefs, are the modern descendants of the first boards that appeared and come from a long Hawaiian tradition. The shortboards (or short boards) are lighter, more raised and tapered at the level of the nose, thinner, they are much more manageable and provide much greater freedom to the surfer in his trajectory and the figures he can achieve.
Recommended book: Surf, une histoire de glisse. De la première vague aux beach boys by Jérémy Lemarié at Arkié editions