This article was translated by John R. Bopp

A while back, we spoke to you about Ignacio de Arana, the Basque diplomat who was the consul of the Kingdom of Spain in Hawaii, and upon his return from his post, brought two surfboards and a book (now of great historical value) back to the Basque Country.  This was back in 1914.  That is to say, a century ago.

We’re mentioning him again because a Spanish-language website, Olo Surf History, at the University of Olomouc in Czechia has brought him up in a book.  Olo Surf History is a research center dedicated exclusively to the history of the art of riding the waves in all its forms: surfing, bodyboard, bellyboard, bodysurfing, etc.

The work was carried out by Daniel Esparza, who’s in charge of this center and a professor at the university, and presents Ignacio de Arana as probably the first European to bring surfing to Europe.

Obviously, there is no evidence that our protagonist practiced this sport in Europe.  But the fact that he went to the trouble to bring back two surfboards from Hawaii to Vitoria makes us think it wouldn’t have been too much harder to then take them from Vitoria to a nearby coast to use them.

Daniel Esparza offers us an exhaustive research work on the protagonist, his life, surfing at the time, and the reasons that make him think that he is the first surfer to practice the sport in Europe, all in the Olo Surf History bulletin, available in .pdf.

A simply amazing story

Olo Surf History – 11/2/2014 – Czechia

El primer surfer europeo

libro-surf-ignacio-arana
Image of the surf book the Basque diplomat brought back to Vitoria, along with two surfboards, from his stay in Hawaii

”Tomando la hipótesis de que Ignacio de Arana, cónsul en Hawái, fue el primer surfer en Europa, pues llevó a España desde Hawái dos tablas de surf y el primer libro de surf de la historia en 1914, este informe recaba mayor información sobre su estancia en Hawái y su regreso a España con el fin de refutar dicha hipótesis. La búsqueda se ha centrado principalmente en fuentes hemerográficas (de España, EEUU, Brasil y Reino Unido), que fueron los últimos destinos del cónsul, antes de morir en 1918, a la edad de 38 años. Este trabajo de investigación ha conseguido saber más sobre Arana, sobre su relación con el deporte y la sociedad hawaiana. Además se ha corregido una fecha clave para la historia del surf en Europa: su regreso a España con aquellas tablas no fue en 1912 sino en 1914″.

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Ignacio Arana Srurfer