Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Scott Laderman
  • Director Silvia Prietov
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Animator William Cifuentes
  • Storyboard Artist William Cifuentes
  • Compositor Julian Andrés Sánchez
  • Designer William Pineda
  • Illustrator William Pineda
  • Character Designer William Pineda
  • Producer Silvia Prietov
  • Composer Manuel Borda
  • Sound Designer Manuel Borda
  • Associate Producer Jessica Ruby
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson


Additional Resources for you to Explore
Surfing, which is one of the world’s most popular cultural phenomena, has always been much more than a pleasurable pastime. While the number of actual surfers may be relatively low, the sport’s reach has historically extended far beyond the limited community of wave riders, influencing everything from fashion and music to film, photography, tourism, and corporate marketing.

Its history is rich and colorful. While surfing may be popularly associated with beach culture, its evolution has traced some of the most significant developments of the modern world. These include empire-building and the “civilizing mission” in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Hawai'i, the growth of international tourism following the Second World War, U.S. foreign relations and Cold War cultural diplomacy, modernization and economic development, political mass movements and the South African antiapartheid struggle, and industrial growth and corporate globalization.

Capturing this history is an enormous undertaking. But Matt Warshaw, a leading chronicler of the sport, has given it a shot. Here is his online encyclopedia, and here is his online history. On the political history of the sport, here are interviews on BBC Radio 4 and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “The List” with Scott Laderman, the educator behind this TED-Ed lesson and author of Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing.

Today, one can find the history of surfing recorded in museums all over the world. In Hawai‘i, there is the Bishop Museum. In California, the International Surfing Museum, the California Surf Museum, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, and the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center all feature public displays. Farther east, one can visit the Texas Surf Museum. In the United Kingdom, the Museum of British Surfing is well worth a visit. South Africa features both the Timewarp Surfing Museum and the Jeffreys Bay Surf Museum. And in Australia, there are numerous exhibits at the Australian National Surfing Museum.