The first known occurrences of surfing are connected to the ancient Hawaiian tradition of “he’e nalu”, meaning “wave-sliding”. For this ancient Hawaiian culture, the sea had an attached persona, which could reflect emotions. A good day of surfing required the proper waves, and in order to convince the sea to provide these waves, Ancient Hawaiians relied on Kahunas (priests) to pray for good surf. Kahunas would engage in ritual chants and dances, with the intention of pleasing the sea to provide the people with surfable waves.
The only thing I’d heard before my first trip to Cimaja (other than that the waves were good) was an odd, cryptic warning: Don’t wear green in the water, otherwise the sea goddess might make you her concubine.
Michael Peterson, three-time winner of the Bells Beach Easter surfing classic and one of Australia’s greatest surfers, has died at the age of 59 after a heart attack.