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TRAIL TO TIDE: THE NORST JOURNAL

Surfing in the UK: A Brief History of the Sport in the United Kingdom

by Dan Chapman 04 Jan 2023 0 Comments
Surfing in the UK: A Brief History of the Sport in the United Kingdom

Surfing has a long and rich history in the United Kingdom, with the sport being enjoyed by people in the country for centuries.

The origins of surfing in the UK can be traced back to the early 19th century, when two Hawaiian princes introduced the sport to the country during a visit in 1890, along with their English tutor. The princes demonstrated their surfing skills at a beach on the north east coast of England at the resort of Bridlington in Yorkshire, sparking a lot of interest in the sport amongst locals. 

A long lost hand written note discovered in the achieves of Bishop Museum in Honolulu was unearthed in 2012 and is the first recorded evidence of surfing in the United Kingdom. The letter addressed to the Hawaiian consul Mr. Armstrong from Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Piikoi explain's how he and his brother Prince David Kahalepouli Kawananakoa Piikoi were allowed by their tutor to have a surf trip as a reward for their efforts in further educating themselves in Britain. 

From this record and throughout the 20th century, surfing in the UK remained a niche activity, with the sport being primarily enjoyed by a small group of dedicated enthusiasts. However, the sport began to gain wider popularity in the 1960s, as the countercultural movement of the time embraced surfing as a way to rebel against mainstream society.

In the decades that followed, surfing continued to grow in popularity in the UK, with the sport becoming a mainstream activity in the country. Today, surfing is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds in the UK, and the country is home to a number of professional surfers who compete at the highest levels of the sport.

The popularity of surfing in the UK has been boosted in recent years by the development of artificial wave pools, which allow surfers to enjoy the sport in a controlled environment regardless of the weather conditions. These wave pools have made it easier for people to learn how to surf and have helped to increase the popularity of the sport even further.

Overall, surfing has a long and rich history in the UK, with the sport having evolved from a niche activity enjoyed by a small group of enthusiasts to a mainstream and widely popular activity enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.

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