home catalogue history references appendix 
bennett : pitcairn island, 1834 

Frederick Bennett : Pitcairn Island, 1834.

Extract from
Bennett, Frederick Debell:
Narrative of a Whaling Voyage Round the Globe, from the year 1833 to 1836.
Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, London, 1840, page 35.

A brief description of juvenile surfboard riding on Pitcairn Island in 1834.

Interestingly, although Bennett also visited Hawaii, he does not record surfing there and notes:

The only aboriginal games we noticed among them was one resembling quoits; a second played with black and white stones on a checquer-board, in a manner approaching to chess or draughts; and the pahe, or darting rods along the smooth ground to, or beyond, a determined mark.
Horsemanship is now a favourite exercise with both sexes- the females riding a la fourchette.
They invariably ride at full gallop; and a native peasant, attired in primitive costume, and mounted on the bare back of a steed, bears, in his attitude, his naked and well-proportioned limbs, and his cloth flowing wildly about him, no slight resemblance to an equestrian figure from the antique, executed in bronze. (pages 218-219)

Extracts from Bennett's book, including the Pitcairn Island surfing report, were published in the  Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 28 November 1840, page 3.

Also see:

1821 Dr David Ramsay : Surfriding on Pitcairn Island.
1852  Matthew MoresbySurfriding on Pitcairn Island.
1868 Mrs. Selwyn : Surfriding on Norfolk Island.

Australia Screen: In the Wake of the Bounty (1933)
Pitcairn boat-builders

Volume 1
Chapter VII
Page 35

Their children are stout and shrewd little urchins, familiar and confident, but at the same time well behaved.
They are early inured to aquatic exercises; and it amused us not a little to see small creatures, two or three years old, sprawling in the surf which broke upon the beach; their mothers sitting upon the rocks, watching their anticks, and coolly telling them to "come out, or they would be drowned;" whilst the older children, amusing themselves with their surf-boards, would dive out beneath the lofty breakers, and, availing themselves of a succeeding series, approach the coast, borne on the crest of a wave, with a velocity which threatened their instant destruction against the rocks; but, skilfully evading any contact with the shore, they again dived forth to meet and mount another of their foaming steeds.

Bennett, Frederick Debell: 
Narrative of a Whaling Voyage 
Round the Globe, from the year 1833 to 1836. 
Richard Bentley, 
New Burlington Street, London, 1840.

Return to Surfer Bio menu
home catalogue history references appendix

Geoff Cater (2010-2016) : Fredderick Bennett : Pitcairn Island, 1834.