The history of sport is not just one straight line. The word ‘sport’ has not always meant what we understand it to mean today. In the distant past, it wasn’t a case of “surpassing oneself”, the very idea of ‘limits’ was deep-rooted; the concept of pushing them, even if they were just your own, would only become acceptable much much later. The role of sport as we know it today is only a recent event, in terms of its importance in the media as well as the time it occupies in our lives and our dreams.
Furthermore, sport and sporting disciplines have rarely been fixed over time, except for Olympic sports where a certain form of continuity is part of its identity. Technical progress has often enabled athletes to move on up to the next level when it hasn’t led to a complete change in style or ethos. Societal and cultural changes have also modified certain sports, specifically mountain sports. We have moved from the academic approach in alpine disciplines at the beginning of the 20th century to California-inspired free climbing. The same applies to cycling, revolutionised by the arrival of the mountain bike, also from California, invented by the same long-haired dudes besotted with freedom, masters in smashing the inflexibility of sport. Cultural changes and technological evolution have now revolutionised running. The first runners were identified as eccentrics, you were only supposed to run with an academic mindset, and women were not allowed to run in marathons. Today running is a global phenomenon and Nike have recently introduced carbon soles into their latest shoes.
Surfing today is far removed from the era of Mickey Dora or the Tonton Surfeurs Biarritz surfing pioneers. Boards are shorter and speed and manoeuvrability have changed. Shortboards made longboards seem outdated for a while before surfers came back to a less radical ride. Each to their own, but progress just keeps on pushing on. Simon Anderson, inventor of the tri fin, had a huge influence on surfing by the addition of a third fin. Audacity has also changed the history of surfing. Martin Potter took on the waves and won, thus redefining the sport. Today, John John Florence is continuing to write the 21st history of surfing.
Surfing has evolved and is developing in different directions. Today, the future is taking shape in Mauï. Foil surfing will revolutionise the sport. The very essence of surfing brings us back to the wave, to movement, to nature. It is a certainty shared by Okahina. It’s the same mindset as our project which is turning its back on closed basins. We believe that an artificial wave can only improve the world of surfing and place it in a twenty first century that is both mindful of authenticity and in line with an ever-continuing modernity. Sport is being transformed, being modernised and the Okahina wave opens up a whole new range of possibilities and new horizons to new generations looking for challenges in tune with their own era. Configurable surfing, connected surfing, networked surfing, gamification, surfing and e-sport hybrids, urban surfing; anything is possible, everything is conceivable. And nothing is stopping the new generation of surfers from escaping to Indonesia in the search for another wave.