Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Traditional Hawaiian Surfboards

Four different types of surfboards came out of the Polynesian settlement of Hawaii and the evolution of Hawaiian culture which occurred during the period of the Long Voyages (300-1000 A.D.). Hawaiian surfboards had their beginning around or after this time. It is unknown how much the Hawaiian boards stemmed from the Polynesian.

(illustration from Finney and Houston's A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport)

The four types of Hawaiian surfboards were, in order of their length: the Olo, Kiko`o, Alaia and Kioe (aka Pae Po or Paipo). This chapter documents as much as is known about these boards and comprises the world's most complete, concise information on the subject.

This LEGENDARY SURFERS eBooklet on Traditional Hawaiian Surfboards (aka "Ancient Hawaiian Surfboards") focuses strictly on the boards, their construction, composition and rituals surrounding their making and dedication. It is enhanced with additional material and images which make this eBooklet the best and most concise, detailed single-source on the Hawaiian surfboard of the pre-European contact period.

This original LEGENDARY SURFERS eBooklet was first published in 2003 and then revised in 2005 to include additional material. Both were for-purchase only.

This chapter is now totally free to read, download as a PDF and share by going to:


Total pages: 18 (585 KB), including three pages of footnotes.

Aloha and Thank You for Your Interest in my writings on surfing's history, culture and legendary surfers,

Malcolm Gault-Williams


  Papa He`e Nalu
  The Olo
  The Kiko`o
  The Alaia
  The Paipo (Kioe)
  Wood Types, Collection, Shaping and Rituals
  Board Consecration and Ceremonies

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