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The Evolution of Handboarding

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Evolution of handboarding

Surfboards have a much more detailed history than handboards, but that doesn't mean it's any more interesting.  Check out our timeline detailing the evolution of the handboard, starting all the way back in the 1770's.

Handboards: An Evolution

1772-1778: British explorer Captain James Cook observed natives of Tahiti and the Sandwich Islands (now known as the Hawaiian Islands) bodysurfing during separate voyages.  The ancient Hawaiian tradition of bodysurfing was known as “he’e nalu”, which means, “wave sliding”.

1920’s: Bodysurfing as a water sport was brought to life in Southern California by Olympic swimmer Wally O’Conner or Los Angeles.  O’Conner would visit local beaches and demonstrate his skills for crowds by pushing off of the sand, catching an incoming wave and riding it into the shore.

1926: USC football player Marion Morrison tore his shoulder ligaments bodysurfing near Balboa Pier.  After his injury ended his football career, Morrison tried his luck in Hollywood as an actor and took the name John Wayne.

Hand Surfa handboarding evolution1960’s: An Australian company begins manufacturing the Hand Surfa model handboard, composed entirely of plastic and approximately 1 foot long.  This is where the evolution of the modern handboard that you see today began.

1990s: The sport of bodysurfing and handboarding experienced a renaissance due to a revival of interest among the younger generations in riding alternative crafts to catch waves.  This resulted in the start of a number of small scale handboarding companies.

1998: Slyde Handboards began crafting a line of handboards made of polystyrene foam blanks and specially formulated epoxy resin that were professionally shaped with a double swallowtail for the ultimate combination of strength, speed and lightness. 

Originating from the need for more control and speed when bodysurfing, handboards today mark an evolution hell-bent on finding the fastest, smoothest ride that will get you totally #shacked.







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