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Hawaiian balsa surfboard

Date: c 1949
Overall: 200 x 2992 mm, 16.3 kg
Display Dimensions: 2992 x 610 x 200 mm
Medium: Balsa wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Surfboard
Object No: 00015142
Place Manufactured:Hawaii

User Terms

    This 10 foot Hawaiian surfboard was made from small segments of balsa that were glued together, with a significant amount of the wood taken from old World War II life boats. Due to shortages of materials after the war, in the 1940s broken up crafts became the main source for board making in Hawaii. The surfboard also features a small fin near the tail region and rounded rails.
    SignificanceThis board forms part of the story of the evolution of surfboard design in the 20th century, and illustrates part of the history of post-World Ward II surfboard construction in America.
    HistoryThough Australia was first introduced to surfing in the late 19th century by traders and travellers who had passed through Hawaii, the surfing demonstration of Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku at Freshwater Beach in 1914 was a significant moment in Australia's surfing history. Solid hardwood planks were common on Australian beaches between World War I and World War II, and pre-dated the Australian surfing boom of the late 1950s an early 1960s. Designs were often similar to the Duke's 1914 board, which was shaped from sugar pine purchased from Hudson's Timber Mill in Sydney, and incorporated many of the standard Hawaiian design characteristics.

    The end of World War II opened up new possibilities in surfboard design. Many new materials had become available through advances in technology during the war. As a result, fiberglass coated Malibus were developed in the late 1950s. These allowed surfers a greater range of maneuvers than early wooden boards. The 1950s also saw experimentation in surfboard design, with additions such as a fin aiding maneuverability and stability. The Malibu shape was introduced to Australia in 1956 when a group of Californian lifeguards brought with them new Malibu boards made by Joe Quigg and the Velzy-Jacobs duo. Australians began experimenting with balsa, foam and fiberglass designs, and eventually the Malibu went into mass-production.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Balsa Surfboard

    Assigned title: 10ft Hawaiian balsa wood surfboard

    Web title: Hawaiian balsa surfboard

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