Welcome to the blog of Melanie McDonald ! I'm a professional artist, my life is divided between my home in Newquay, Cornwall and my renovation project - an 18th Century farm - in North Brittany, France. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beaches, skies and seas of Cornwall, Brittany and Scotland. This is where I share my paintings and photographs, I hope it inspires you.

July 02, 2011

Surf bathing ....

In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen would paddle three or four hundred yards out to sea (taking a short board with him), then face the shore and wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its foamy crest and himself upon the board, and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell! It did not seem that a lightning express-train could shoot along at a more hair-lifting speed. I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right, and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself. The board struck the shore in three-quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me. None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly.

An excerpt from Roughing It by Mark Twain. As a young writer Twain discovered the pastime of surfing during a voyage to Kona, Hawaii, in 1866. Almost a century later in 1965, U.S astronauts Borman and Lovell read Roughing It aloud to pass the time aboard NASA's Gemini VII 14 day long mission orbiting the Earth. Surfing had first been described almost 200 years earlier in 1769 by the English naturalist Sir Joseph Banks who took part in the first voyage of Captain James Cook. In fact surfing was a central part of ancient Polynesian culture and an integral part of their spiritual life. Today the popularity of surfing has created a multi-billion dollar global surf culture which includes innovations in equipment, clothing, films, music, art, cars and tourism, regarded by many as not just a sport but as the ultimate lifestyle choice.

Other posts you might like:
Night Ocean Surfers.
On the shore, Polzeath, Cornwall.

Painting featured:
Polzeath, Cornwall - surfer, shadow, surge of water.
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