Before the WSL, before the Beach Boys, and before O’Neil, Roxy, Hurley, or Quiksilver, surfing was an indigenous sport. The first recorded surfers were the ancient Polynesians, who have been sliding on the water for the last 1,500 years.
These days, though, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any indigenous faces in the line-up, even though places like San Diego are considered sacred to local indigenous tribes. Part of the reason many Native American tribes lost their connection to the ocean was because Spanish colonizers displaced their communities, moving them from the sea to the desert. One organization, Native Like Water, hopes to mend old wounds. Their goal is to bring indigenous youth surfing and use the sport as a way for kids to reconnect with their heritage and culture.