Friday, 8 August 2008

A point of contention

Whilst enjoying a post slide luncheon, of crumble, strawberries, cake, ice cream and tea (lovely), a point of hot contention bubbled to the surface.
The title of our beloved pastime seems to have been hijacked by those marketing men, (you know those showy types) and used exclusively to describe stand up surf riding. I suspect in order to glean 'the cool' of our pastime for profit.
'Bellyboarding' (as many refer to it) was originally known as 'surfing' or 'surf riding' and as it was the only popular form of riding waves, none saw fit to question this title. Little did we know that with the advent of 'Malibu style' boards to British beaches that our prone wave riding would be sub categorised. Some feel the term 'Belly' boarding is none too flattering and prefer prone surfing, surfing or surf riding.
So I put the point to you all, what term would you use to describe our practice and what be your justification for this?
All comments are very welcome...


Brooky said...

The problem seems to me to be one of recognition of what we're about, which I assume is traditional, wooden boards. Most people have heard of bellyboards but the image conjured up is not always what we mean and could just as easily refer to some nasty 'little mermaid' sponge. Personally I think 'bellyboard' is right as it's a direct translation of 'paipo' but because of the reasons I've given, perhaps we should call them 'paipos'. Generally if you call something a name that they've never heard, they'll want to know more.

bellyboarduk said...

Brooky puts it well & his description of 'nasty little mermaid sponge' is damn near poetic !
Having spent years honing my racing profile with pies, ale & many rhubarb crumbles i have no problem with the moniker 'Bellyboarding' Some of the fairer sex may however not agree .
Whilst the 'Paipo' conjures up gentle waves lapping against far away exotic shores i feel it is not English enough to describe this sport so thoroughly adopted by us ?

longarms1 said...

The term surfing should be used inclusivly.It is a nasty British habit to form exclusive groups or sub groups.In Hawaii the terms surfing or wave sliding historically are used inclusivly.
If we love surfing we may end our days in the waves as we began surfing on a small board.

peter.robinson said...

It's all surfing, always has been, always will be. Whether you call it surfing, surf riding, wave sliding - it doesn't matter what craft you use from canoe to paipo - the act is riding the wave for pleasure. Those 'historians' who state so boldly in the media that surfing began in Britain 50 years ago this year do a huge injustice to the thousands who surfed in Britain before WW2 and indeed as we're now discovering before WW1 and through the 1800s. Surfing. (

teaboy said...

It's surfing

Eef said...

yup, surfing!

bellyboarduk said...

So if we are to call the action of riding these craft surfing, then we must be riding surfboards. Do we need to differentiate any further?
It seems that some sort of differentiation might be appropriate, given the sub classification of long, short, knee boards etc. If this is necessary then what do we call our prone surfing craft?
If some people don't like 'bellyboard', then is there any other historically appropriate title? Brooky suggested that 'bellyboard' is a direct translation of 'paipo', in which case it seems an appropriate title?