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burroughs  : surf riding at waikiki, 1912 

John Burroughs : Surf Riding at Waikiki, 1912.

Extracts from
Burroughs, John: Time and Change.
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1912.
Published October 1912.

Internet Archive

John Burroughs' (1837-1921) principle interest is in geology, which he pursues and records during a world tour.
At Waikiki he enjoys riding in an outrigger canoe and makes an attempt at surfboard riding.

Also note:

Burroughs, John: Holiday In Hawaii: Nature In A Pacific Paradise
Century Magazine,
The Century Company, New York, Volume LXXXIV, No. 4, August, 1912.
A 16 page article, illustrated with 11 photographs, including a group of native boys ready to dive for coins in Honolulu Harbour and a native indulging in the sport of surfing or surf-riding, [R. W. Rice and A. W. Perkins: Surf Riding, 1904].

"John Burroughs (April 3, 1837 March 29, 1921) was an American naturalist and essayist important in the evolution of the U.S. conservation movement.
According to biographers at the American Memory project at the Library of Congress,[citation needed] John Burroughs was the most important practitioner after Henry David Thoreau of that especially American literary genre, the nature essay.

Page 119
Page 122

On shore we were greeted with the music of the Royal Hawaiian Band, and a motley crowd of Hawaiians, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Americans, bearing colored lies, or wreaths of flowers, which they waved at friends on board, and with which they bedecked them as soon as they came off the gangplank.
It was a Babel of tongues in which the strange, vowel-choked language of the Hawaiians was conspicuous.

Page 123

I had gone to Honolulu reluctantly, but tarried there joyfully.
The fine climate, with its even temperature of about eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and with all that is enervating or oppressive in that degree of heat winnowed out of it by the ceaseless trade winds; the almost unbroken sunshine, perfumed now and then by a sprinkle of sunlit rain from the mountains; the wonderful sea laving the shores on the one hand and the cool, cloud-capped,
and rain-drenched heights within easy reach on the other; the green, cozy valleys; the broad sweep of plain; the new, strange nature on every side; the novel and delicious fruits; the pepsin-charged papaya, or tree melon, which tickles the palate while it heals and renews the whole digestive system; the mangoes (oh, the mangoes!); the cordiality of the people; the inviting bungalows; the clean streets; the good service everywhere - all made me feel how mistaken was my reluctance.

Page 130

In climbing the heights, it was always a surprise to me to see the Pacific rise up as I rose, till it stood up like a great blue wall there against the horizon.
A level plain unrolls in the same way as we mount above it, but it does not produce the same illusion [page 131] of rising up like a wall or a mountain-range ; the blue, facile water cheats the eye.

One of the novel pleasures in which most travelers indulge while in Honolulu is surf-riding at Waikiki, near Diamond Head.
The sea, with a floor of lava and coral, is here shallow for a long distance out, and the surf comes in at intervals like a line of steeds cantering over a plain.
We went out in our bathing-suits in a long, heavy dugout, with a lusty native oarsman in each end.
When several hundred yards from shore, we saw, on looking seaward, the long, shining billows coming, whereupon our oarsmen headed the canoe toward shore, and plied their paddles with utmost vigor, uttering simultaneously a curious, excited cry.
In a moment the breaker caught us and, in some way holding us on its crest, shot us toward the shore like an arrow.
The sensation is novel and thrilling.
The foam flies; the waters leap about you.
You are coasting on the sea, and you shout with delight and pray for the sensation to continue.
But it is quickly over.
The hurrying breaker slips from under you, and leaves you in the trough, while it goes foaming on the shore.
Then you turn about and row out from the shore again, and wait for another chance to be shot toward the land on the foaming crest of a great Pacific wave.

I suppose the trick is in the skill of the oarsmen in holding the boat on the pitch of the billow so that in its rush it takes you with it. The native [page 132] boys do the feat standing on a plank.
I was tempted to try this myself, but of course made a comical failure.

Burroughs, John:
Time and Change.

Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1912.
Published October 1912.

Internet Archive

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Geoff Cater (2012-2016) : John Burroughs : Surf Riding at Waikiki, 1912.