SURFING (A Poem)
By John M. Giles (1911)
An early example of surfing themed poetry, obviously post-dating the ancient Hawaiian legends that have surfing content.
The beach gleams white in the sun’s strong light,
The ocean’s a fathomless blue;
The breakers roar on the reef and shore
And call to me and you.
The water is clear where the great fish sheer
‘Tween the coral rocKs below,
And the surf boards ride there side by side,
While the breakers come and go.
It is each for each as we leave the beach,
And nose through the breaking blue;
It is paddle well as we hit the swell
And brea the white crest through.
There’s a sudden swing, a twist and a fling!
The board points for the shore!
And you fix your eye where the surf flings high,
To fall on the reef aroar.
You watch it leave with a rising heave
Gathering force as it goes;
And you paddle away and you dip and sway
As it near and nearer shows.
Then you flash through space in a whirling race,
And a smother of salt sea spray,
And the sea laughs by and the great bl\1e sKy,
Both call their roundelay.
The warm trade breeze that moves the trees
On the fringed shore ahead,
With lingering kiss and soothing hiss,
Steadies your whirling head.
So it’s out to the roar of the spray spumed shore!
Again and still again,
For life is good on your fashioned wood,
And you care or know not pain.
Giles, John M.: Surfing (Poem).
The Mid-Pacific Magazine
Published by Alexander Hume Ford, Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, Volume 2, Number 4, October, 1911, pages A and B.
Dr. Don James, Surfing in the 1930s: A Documentary on the Pioneers of Surfing with soundtrack by The Challengers
SURFER GIRL, A POEM
By Debbie Prentice, aka SurfGirl
A surfer girl stands with her board in the sun,
Waiting to catch her crystal blue fun.
Here lies, ‘Paradise’ her haven of pure perfection,
She knows the waves will grant her full satisfaction.
The mermaids will let her have her only wish to be,
A Goddess of the ocean, their siren of the sea.
She seizes her chance, and darts through the waves,
Longing to connect with its deep, watery caves.
She hears Neptune’s roar, and yet there is no sound,
For she is lost within, she is forever bound.
The waves eventually let her go, and along the beach she’ll roam,
But the surfer girl knows, as the sun sinks below,
The sea will always be her home…
The Astronauts, ‘Baja’ (1963)
SOUND OF THE SURF (THE SURFING POEM)
By Ralph Alfonso
Waves crash down
Hot sun burning
White boards rising
from the sand
camp stove coffee
Fuel for the engine
Rhythm of the surf
Drums of the sea
One by one
into the ocean
throwing our bodies into
the liquid of life
Souls set free
astride our hearts
twisting and turning
propelled by ocean
into the white light of peace
fear the only obstacle
adrenaline the reward
sweat is our offering
baptized in the waters of
cleansed of our sins
to carry our message of
an infinite calm
a silence within
as day begins
the sound of the surf
dawn of the drums
© 1998, Ralph Alfonso
The G-Men (from South Africa), with John Kongos on lead guitar, ‘Raunchy Twist’ (1962)
ODE TO SURFING
by Juliette Llewellyn
Suddenly in water
the surfboard is looser,
On sand it
was firm under body,
now sea water flows
We have to learn again
to push ourselves up,
as ocean’s swell
pulls us down.
Rope joins the board
to my ankle
keeping me connected.
fresh air blowing
The oncoming wave.
I remember Egypt
snorkeling in Dahab.
Red sea. Ahead.
coral shines pink.
I swim to the edge of the reef.
and sits next to me.
I want him to leave.
Immersed in ocean,
sky and sand. Stretched.
If you want freedom
I will make you think
of nothing else.
Published March 9, 2014 at Keats House Poets Forum
The Chantays, ‘Pipeline’ (1963)
WATERMARKS FROM A NIGHT SPRING
By Joe Linker
Embers of a partially burned ocean
In a box in a dank basement molting notes
A weathered surfer slowly descends the creaking
Worn stairs, dark swells yawning
Fish eyed and barnacle knuckled he climbs
Finds and opens the box, peers in, smells the pages
Runs salted fingers over the raised words
Rusting paper clips, chiseled letters in Courier font
Fading beached seagulls washing away in an incoming tide
Wired spiraled journaled waves
Bleaching across the page ink in water
Blistering sun burnt tattoos on old shivered skin
He can no longer read without bottled glasses
He chuckles, the tide receding washing scouring
White out rocks across words stuck buried in red tide pools
Breathing with a snorkel
The surfer leers over the smoldering sea
Takes up the seaweed soiled waxed manuscript
And paddles out of the basement
Walks down to the beach and what remains
Of the water and casts out the paper fish net
Into a set of scaling waves
Lit with a lustrous industrial moon
The waves curling letters in blue neon.
“Watermarks from a Night Spring” was originally published at The Coming of the Toads, a blog is written by Joe Linker
Joe Linker attended El Camino College and California State University at Dominguez Hills, earning a BA in English, with a minor in 20th Century Thought and Expression, and an MA in English, while putting in six years in the ACNG. Over a decade of adjunct work bookends 25 years in what Han-shan called the “red dust” of business (CPCU, 1992). He was a Hawthorne Fellow at the Attic Institute in Portland, Oregon, from April to August, 2012.
The Beach Boys, ‘Surfer Girl,’ from The Lost Concert (1964). The single peaked at #7 in 1963.