From the mid 18th century both surf boards and surfing is popular. In the earlier days, surfing was considered as a sport of royalty and lifestyle symbol. The sport was originated at the Polynesian Islands and then made its way to Hawaii in the mid 18th Century.
The first surfers who showed their surfing skills to the locals in North America, were two Hawaiian princes studying in the US. The sport gained huge popularity after that. The surf boards used at that time, was made from solid wood, sanded with granulated coral and stained with bark or charcoal and polished with nut oil. Since the board weighed around 150 lbs it acted like a sponges in the water, which was its only drawback.
In the year 1865, an Olympic swimmer from Hawaii, Duke Kahanamoku, displayed his surfing skills on a visit to Australia. The event created a storm among Australians, who have always been fascinated by outdoor life; and the style of surf boarding became quite popular in the region.
Over the years, surf board has undergone lot of changes and modification; right from original solid redwood plank to the present polyurethane foam and fiberglass. Though, the overall make-up of the board has not been modified much.
Earlier, long boards of up to 16' were popular but they were too difficult to maneuver. After a while, shorter boards of 6' and 8 lbs were introduced, they were much lighter as well easier to navigate.
Some of the optional changes made to the surf boards are additional nose and fins for stability. These options allow surfers to experiment with their style of surfing. Today, surfing has become one of the international sports, which has led to the introduction of different riding styles for different type of board.
Surf board leash is considered to be one of the best inventions in surfing. This simple device is strapped to the surfers ankle, which allows them to retrieve the board after every wave. Because of its huge popularity it's no more limited to men and has a large female following as well.