Kuhio brought surfing to Santa Cruz and was a Congressional delegate
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 April, 2015 - Honolulu, Hawaii - Last week Hawaiians honored one of surfing's most legendary and often overlooked figures: Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole who in 1885 (thirty years before The Duke) amazed onlookers in Santa Cruz, California, as he and his brothers performed their feat of riding waves in the cold California waters.
A plaque stands in Santa Cruz, commemorating the Brother's visit. Another stands in Honolulu.
Hawaii's KITV reported on the celebration: According to historian and researcher Kristin Zambucka, who was largely responsible for raising the honorary plaque, the redwood surboard one of the brothers rode in Santa Cruz during their visit was 17-feet long and 175 pounds. The board was alledgedly "bequeathed to the Bishop Museum by Elizabeth Kahanu Kalanianaole, Kuhio's widow."
The brothers would go on to introduce surfing to Europe, writing in a letter to Hawaiian Consul Henry Armstrong in 1890 that "The weather has been very windy these few days and we like it very much for we like the sea to be rough so that we are able to have surf riding. We enjoy surf riding very much and surprise the people to see us riding on the surf."
Kuhio would go on to be the first Hawaiian delegate to Congress, as well as the founder of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which was meant to rehabilitate economically displaced Native Hawaiians, with a particular interest in returning Hawaiians to Hawaiian land, in hopes of maintaining historic ties to the land.