Surfer on the famous Waikiki Beach. Kalakaua Avenue. O'ahu. History of surfing Yes, Hawaiians are the original founders of the "sport of kings" which in Hawaiian would "hee nalu". After the arrival of the English Captain Cook to the islands, Lieutenant James King was the first to record these unusual activities practiced by the ancient Hawaiians. Captain Cook and the others who were not, and observing Hawaiian islands for the first time, were fascinated by the agility and mastery of the islanders. They wore long tall trees carved tables to master the waves standing with one foot before the other or face down, his body against the table. The ocean with all its mystery, ia (fish), which gives life and kai (water), were highly revered and respected as essential components of survival for ancient Hawaiians. The ocean was carefully studied, its currents and tides were observed in detail, and fishing, surfing and travel were strategically planned. Surfing was not only an entertainment, required great skill, energy, flexibility and balance. A Hawaiian could master the art of surfing, among other skills ocean was highly respected in society. Senior chiefs (alii), had reserved the best spots on each island and practiced with the best tables.