Surfing in 1000 BC

Chimu age caballito, AD 900-1450
Felipe Pomar, 1965
Pomar (r) and Thor Heyerdahl, late '80s
Moche age caballito, AD 100-800

On a sunny fall morning in 1987, Felipe Pomar of Lima walked into the California offices of Surfer magazine, right on time for his scheduled meeting, ready to talk about a subject guaranteed to put a blank expression on just about any waverider’s face—surfing in ancient Peru. Hawaii, of course, has always been regarded as surfing’s birthplace, but Pomar wanted to propose an alternate theory of the sport’s origins. He was too smart to think he was going to waltz into Surfer and change surfing’...

As seen in an ancient ceramic, two Peruvian fishermen straddle their reed boats, heads low, hands and eyes forward, in a pose suggesting a fast ride toward shore. Both figures grin broadly.