Hawaiian surfers with alaia boards
19th century engraving
Paipo rider, 1964. Photo: Val Valentine
Tom Stone on olo board, 2008. Photo: David Pu'u
The average Polynesian peasant-surfer likely banged together his new surfboard with no more godly thought than a woodcrafter making a door. At the royal level, however, boardmaking was a serious matter, filled with rites and rituals. A craftsman would search the highland forest for a suitable tree. Small and midlength boards were usually made of koa, a fine-grained hardwood, or the softer breadfru...