The History of Surfing - The Fall of Kapu Vol. II
Before the arrival of Europeans the rule of law in Hawai'i was a code of kapu, taboos that governed pretty much every aspect of Hawaiin life. The code dictated eating habits, how Hawaiians grew their food, how to build canoes and surfboards, determined when the surf would be good, or convinced the Gods to make it good. Remember that Hawai'i was distinctly organized into the royal and the common classes and the code also ruled the water. The best beaches were reserved for royality and commoners and royality did not share the same waves. Most commoners rode paipo (means prone), or belly boards or alaia, which were stand up boards that were as long as about 12'. The all'i, or royality, rode olo that were up to 24'long.
When James Cook arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the late 1700's, Surfing - the sport, art, religion, lifestyle, was at an apex and was described by many Europeans who had also unknowingly unleashed what would turn out to be the change of a culture, and a nation. After the return of Cook's ships to Europe, and the subsequent publishing of the Journals of Cook and of Lieutenant James King, the Hawaiian Islands become the destination of choice for adventures, captains, misfits, and missionaries spreading "the word of God", among other not so positive things. With them they brought diseases and vices, languages, technologies, and new gods, with new demands. The Hawaiian culture that had evolved over a thousand years was devastated and changed almost beyond repair.
The most significant damage to the Hawaiians was probably from the missionaries that were going to save the souls of the heathens particularly from "Calvinism". The Calvins believed that the Hawaiians were a non-spohisticated tribe of people that, simply put, needed religion, a better work ethic, and more clothes. The intrusion of European religion and lifestyle and a departure from the traditional code of Kapu ,which was cooperative, peaceful, and loving society was as devastating to the state of surfing as anything else. Calvinism, and other European religions saw surfing as a waste of valuable time that could be better used working. The decline of surfing in Hawai'i was fast.
By 1896 the native Hawaiian population had decreased from between 500,000 and 800,000 at the time of Captian Cooks arrival in the late 1700's to about 40,000.
Despite the strict new religions and lifestyle, surfing didn't completely die out. Though it was no longer the driver of their lives, it was in their blood, their genes, it was part of the deeply ingrained personal relationship that hawaiians have with nature, in particularly the ocean. Everything else, however was, to some extent, controlled by the whites, or the haoles, their culture, their Gods, their magic, their land, their lives. In 1893, businessmen, plantation owners, and missionaries, assisted by the U.S. marines overthrew the Hawaiian Monarchy despite resistance from a small number of Hawaiians. Queen Lili'uokalani was imprisoned.
In 1898, the United States annexed Hawai'i as a territory
to be continued