This book marks the centenary of the great Hawaiian Olympic swimmer and surfer Duke Kahanamoku’s historic visit to Australia in 1914. Since then, Australian surfing has evolved from exotic Pacific Island curio to regimented training for life savers, from counterculture revolution to respectable mainstream sport. The story of Australian surfing is largely one of schisms: between freedom seeking beach-goers and censorial puritans, between the quasi-militaristic regiments and volunteerism of surf life savers and the selfish pleasure-seeking pursuits of board riders, the generational and attitudinal gulf between longboarders and shortboarders, professionals and so-called “soul” surfers, territorial tensions between locals and tourists. Along the way, it has shaped coastal migrations, spawned vast business empires and design innovations, produced sports stars and spectacular casualties in equal measure, helped the beach overtake the bush as Australians' national, natural habitat of choice. No other sport has been through such profound cultural shifts or had such far-reaching influence on our national identity.
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