The advent of digital newspapers is providing critical historical information for subjects like surfing that have traditionally had so few primary sources available to researchers. A review of newspapers from the early twentieth century reveals important new evidence that the Hawaii Promotion Committee (HPC) helped support the growth of surfing by coordinating a transpacific marketing campaign to highlight the sport for the sake of boosting tourism. However, because the HPC and the newspapers in which it published its weekly reports represented arms of the colonial powers, much of that new information must be understood in the broader context of how the local Caucasian or haole population used the newspapers to promote their own imperial vision of surfing while often ignoring or suppressing Native Hawaiian voices that represented a critical counternarrative. For their part, Native Hawaiians actively resisted the racist and pro-territorial propaganda by publishing their own newspapers and by directly competing against haole in and around the surf.
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Research Article| September 29 2020
The Hawaii Promotion Committee and the Appropriation of Surfing
Pacific Historical Review (2020) 89 (4): 500–527.
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Patrick Moser; The Hawaii Promotion Committee and the Appropriation of Surfing. Pacific Historical Review 29 September 2020; 89 (4): 500–527. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/phr.2020.89.4.500
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