Practice Essay – Academic Writing Many people say surfing isn’t a sport, it’s a lifestyle – but, it’s more than that. From the moment you first step in the ocean to the day you die it is a part of you. It becomes the way you think and what plays across your mind when you are in that subconscious state between awake and asleep. It has an affair with your emotions and embeds itself in the depths of your heart. You cannot get rid of the ocean once it’s made its mark on you. It is unlike any other addiction on the planet. They say too much of anything can kill you, but, when it comes to surfing – you can never get enough.
Surfing began in the islands of Hawaii, the first ever report written by Lieutenant James King of Captain James Cook’s ship Discovery. In this report he described the art of surfing over two pages in the narrative portion of Captain Cook’s journals. Surfing was an extremely spiritual and important part of Hawaiian life, so much so, that places were named after particular surfing incedents. When the Calvinistic Christian Missionaries arrived in Hawaii the number of surfers in the water declined rapidly as the missionaries claimed the sport, amongst others, was “Against the laws of God”.
For years it was rare to see a surfer in the water, the surfing culture had almost died out. However, in 1907 Jack London a famous author took a vacation in Hawaii – staying in Waikiki – and was introduced to surfing by Alexander Hume Ford and George Freeth. Being an author, it was no surprise when Jack wrote of his surfing experience in his book entitled A Royal Sport: Surfing in Waikiki. This new publicity breathed life into the dying sport – and not long after – George Freeth was asked to put on a wave riding demonstration in California, bringing surfing to America.
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Now days, surfing is a huge sport. There are approximately 23 million surfers worldwide, a stark contrast to the late 1800’s in Hawaii. Surf companies are popping up all over the place – their main aim to provide surf equipment and apparel to the surf community and those who fancy the style. Surfing has grown, not only as a leisure sport, but also in competition. Currently, there are 34 men and 17 women competing on the WCT (World Championship Tour), and millions more taking to the water in small town events and larger professional or amateur competitions.
Surfing is also making its way into the film industry, with surf photography and documentaries becoming increasingly popular. With all the hype and inflation of surfing, it will still remain a magical and adrenaline pumping experience. There are many surfers who surf for the pure joy of being out in the ocean, at one with rising and falling swells, no matter how far it is extracted from its humble, spiritual beginnings in Hawaii. These surfers are known as soul surfers – and it is these people that will continue to keep surfing alive for generations to come.
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