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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about surfing. The sport originated in Polynesia thousands of years ago, and still provides an adrenaline-powered way for participants to commune with the ocean.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood

(Music up and under: Theme from Hawaii 5-0)

CURWOOD: If you get amped seeing serious bros carve out mondo waves atop boards of fiberglass and foam, head to Oahu, Hawaii, this month. That's where the surf's up for the triple crown of surfing competition. International surfing contests have been around since the early 50s, but the sport itself goes back thousands of years. Polynesians get the credit for being the first wave sliders. For fun they would ride the waves on long wooden planks. Petroglyphs found in Hawaii depict ancient surfers who rode boards as tall as three or four people and well over 100 pounds, but always buoyant. Now, surfers are getting stoked looking for a boost about anywhere in the world with suitable waves, from Ireland to Indonesia to Israel. Of late, the surfing community's become active in preserving the environment their sport relies on, concentrating on water quality and coastal development issues. They also worry that climate change will destroy the coral reefs and erode the beaches as sea levels rise, making the shore soup. And that's this week's Living on Earth Almanac, dude.



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