Surfing (a.k.a. surfboarding) – originally the riding of a wave while standing or lying on a surfboard. Now also applied figuratively to other activities, e.g. ‘surfing the net’.
It is generally accepted that surfing was first enjoyed by Polynesians in Tahiti and Hawaii. The oral tradition of passing chants, called ‘Meles’, from generation to generation records the practice of surfing in those islands and suggests that it dates back to at least the 15th century. It was first recorded in print in the ship’s log of the Discovery, which was part of Captain James Cook’s ill-fated expedition to Hawaii. The log was written in 1779 by Lieutenant James King, who took over the captaincy of the ship after Cook was killed.