big-wave surfing

This unfinished page contains text from either the 2003 or 2005 print version of Encyclopedia of Surfing. An updated version, with more photos, is coming soon.

While premodern and early modern surfers were thrilled and in some cases attracted to riding bigger waves, big-wave surfing as a specialized branch of the sport is often said to have begun in the late 1930s. Honolulu teenagers John Kelly, Wally Froiseth, and Fran Heath invented the streamlined hot curl surfboard in mid-1937, which allowed them to hold a higher, more controlled line across the wave...

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