Catching a wave is nothing new for Hawaiians. The first recorded account of surfing penned around 1779 by a crew member aboard one of British explorer Captain James Cook's ships included two entire pages about local people climbing on boards in the water to wait for "the greatest Swell that sets on shore, & altogether push forward with their Arms to keep on its top." By that time, the sport was already a centuries-old, integral part of Hawaiian culture: chiefs proved their mettle by showing off their wave-riding skills, and new surfboards were christened with chants at special ceremonies. Some Hawaiian place names are even derived from ancient surfing legends.
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