Did surfing start in China 1,000 years ago?
Ancient art shows surfers riding waves in Hangzhou.
A small sculpture of a surfer riding a giant fish depicts surfing competitions that were held in China over 1000 years ago. The sculpture dates back to the Song dynasty, which lasted from 960AD to 1279. Italian surfing historian Nicola Zanella also came across wave riding descriptions in classical Chinese literature. The alleged surfers we’re referred to as the “Children of the tide.”
According to South China Morning Post:
The birthplace of Chinese wave riding was not a tropical coast, but the fierce waters of the world’s largest tidal bore on the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, where the tide drives waves up to 5m high far up the river. Now an extreme surfing event – Battle at the Silver Dragon – is held there, but the surfers taking part may not know that the Chinese Emperor once watched locals ride these same waves, and poets wrote verses about their skill and courage.
Is it true? Were surfing’s Polynesian roots late to the party? Every beach in the world has had its own wave riding renaissance at this point. The only thing I’m sure of is that beach parking has become near impossible since 960AD.
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