EOS Features

"FREETH WILL RIDE THE ATLANTIC ROLLERS," GEORGE FREETH'S MYSTERY SURF ADVENTURE TO NEW JERSEY

This unattributed article ran in the June 27, 1907, issue of the Honolulu Advertiser. Freeth, at some point prior to his famous move from Hawaii to Southern California in 1907, did in fact visit the Eastern Seaboard. This is the only account, however, in which he surfed while there. Freeth himself is not on record talking about the stowaway part of his journey or surfing in Atlantic City. The upco...

1883 - 1918: GEORGE FREETH'S LIFE AND TIMES IN NEWSPRINT

George Freeth was born in Honolulu in 1883 and began surfing at age 19. He helped reintroduce stand-up riding (as compared to prone or kneeling), and after moving to California in 1907 he almost single-handedly popularized the sport in that state. Freeth also was instrumental in creating the beachfront lifeguarding profession. Freeth died in 1919, at age 35, during the global flu pandemic. He neve...

"WATERMEN'S LIVES: RECOLLECTING ZAHN," BY CRAIG LOCKWOOD

Craig Lockwood's profile on surfer and paddleboarder Tommy Zahn ran in a 2001 issue of H20 magazine. This version has been slightly edited and shortened. * * * When Tom Zahn paddled his final strokes beyond life's barrier reef, he slipped across leaving in his wake a superb series of accomplishments as a waterman. Born in Santa Monica in 1924, Zahn grew up on the beach and served as a lifeguard...

"FORTUNATE LIFE: HOW MARGO MADE HIS OWN LUCK," BRENDEN MARGIESON PROFILE BY ANDREW FARRELL (1999)

Andrew Farrell's profile on Brenden Margieson ran in the November 1999 issue of Australia's Surfing Life magazine. * * * Our boat is steaming at full speed toward a thundering lefthander called People Eaters. Eight-foot sets are screaming down the horribly shallow reef. Some of us are hooting, some are silently in awe. Brenden Margieson is on the bow, waxing his 6' 10" and occasionally loo...

1953: “SURF BOARDING FROM MOLOKAI TO WAIKIKI,” BY TOMMY ZAHN

Tommy Zahn, along with Bob Simmons, Matt Kivlin, and Joe Quigg, invented the "Malibu chip" board in the 1940s—the first step on the long road leading to performance surfing as we know it today. Zahn was also the best paddleboarder of his generation. The article below, describing his nine-hour paddle from Molokai to Oahu, was originally published in the March 1954 issue Paradise of the Pacific maga...

1917: “THEY HAILED ME AS THE REVIVER OF THE LOST ART,” BY GEORGE FREETH

This untitled piece by George Freeth was found in typescript form in Honolulu's Bishop Museum. "Evening Herald" was included in the header, which almost certainly means the Los Angeles Evening Herald. In 2008, surf historian Patrick Moser wrote that "evidence suggests it appeared [in print] between 1917 and 1919." A two-paragraph introduction reads as follows: Article written exclusively for The ...

"A ROYAL SPORT," JACK LONDON'S OPERATIC ODE TO SURFING

Jack London's widely-read surfing essay, originally titled "Riding the South Seas Surf," was published in a 1907 issue of Women's Home Companion. In Cruise of the Snark, London's 1911 travel book, it was retitled "A Royal Sport." * * * That is what it is, a royal sport for the natural kings of earth. The grass grows right down to the water at Waikiki Beach, and within fifty feet of the everlasti...

1917: “O, THE WILD JOY OF IT!” BY M. LEOLA CRAWFORD

"Seven Weeks in Hawaii," a short illustrated book by Washington state writer and stenographer M. Leola Crawford, was published in 1913. Visitors to Waikiki by this time were encouraged to take surfing lessons from hotel-employed beachboys; Crawford was fortunate enough to go riding with Duke Kahanamoku. * * * At three o’clock they dropped me out at Waikiki, where I had an appointment to go ridin...

CHARMIAN LONDON: "THE SURFING EXPERT, ERECT WITH FEET IN CHURNING FOAM, MAKES STRAIGHT FOR THE BEACH" (1917)

Charmian Kittredge, an educated, wealthy, free-love-believing Socialist from the San Francisco Bay area, was born in 1871. At age 34, she married Jack London, five years her junior and at the peak of his fame. In 1907, the couple sailed from San Francisco to Honolulu aboard the Snark, a 45-foot yacht London designed himself. "Riding the South Sea Surf," London's still-popular account of his first ...

“WORK WAS OFTEN NEGLECTED FOR THE PROSECUTION OF THIS SPORT": AN EXCERPT FROM THRUM'S ANNUAL, 1896

Australian-born Thomas G. Thrum moved with his family to Hawaii at age 11. He worked as a whaler and a store clerk, and in 1875 began publishing The Hawaiian Almanac and Annual, which he described as "a handbook of valuable and statistical information relating to the Hawaiian Islands." Thrum died in 1932, but the Annual continued until 1974. "Hawaiian Surf Riding" ran in the 1896 edition of the An...