Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Japanese belly board surfing history

Little has been known of the history of surfing in Japan until now when good friend Nobihito Ohkawa started collecting pictures and information from many sources to compile their history.

The oldest written document is a diary of one haiku poet who lived in Sakata. He visited Yunohama beach, north eastern Japan in 1821 and saw children riding on the waves with 'Itago' The Itago is a wooden plank from a fishing boat. But it was not as popular as in Hawaii where kings enjoyed surfing. That’s because the sea was the place fisherman worked and was not considered a place for amusement.
In the 1880's, bathing beaches were opened for medical purposes. However this changed as public beaches soon came to be used for pleasure. Then, common people came to beaches for leisure. From this period, the 'Itako' wave riding tool began to be widely made.

For more information and some great pictures of early surfing visit Nobby's site.

1 comment:

Malcolm Gault-Williams said...

Thank you for passing on the important history of Japanese surfing as we know it now. Further research could lead to more surprises. ~ Please visit