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The Inertia

Any surfer worth their salt would be able to tell you about surfing’s Hawaiian origins. But the specifics are lesser known, and sometimes misunderstood.

In this animated short from TED-Ed, an initiative that animates lessons from some of the world’s best educators, Scott Laderman a history professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, succinctly tells the complex history of surfing’s Polynesian roots – a story wrapped up in colonialism and U.S. annexation.

This is a history lesson that touches anyone who has picked up a surfboard or any of its boardsport derivatives, including snowboarding, skateboarding, and wakeboarding.


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