A Royal Sport / Jack London
In 1906, Jack London built his own yacht, the Snark, and planned a 7 years trip around the world. The cruise stopped in Hawaii where London experienced the “Royal Sport” of surfing. The text he wrote from this adventure, chapter VII of his book The Cruise of the Snark is considered as the first account of a man attempting to surf.
“It does no good to fight the waves; you have to accept their relentless advance, their superior force. “Let the big smoker that is trying to smash you go by far overhead.” In short, man does not have to dominate nature but should remember that he is a part of it, that the ocean does not have to adapt to him but that he has to adapt to it, that he has to assimilate the motion of the waves if he wants to be assimilated into it. Then he will discover the instinct that compelled people, no doubt after long contemplation and a few random embarkations, to glide over the waves. Because surfing is a mystery, too; we don’t know when it was born, and it would be tempting to imagine it as being as old as the world, as old as the swell.”
Quote from Publisher’s note