Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Hang ten for a piece of surfing history

A rare book penned by a man who helped to introduce the world to one of Hawaii's most ancient practices - surfing - is being auctioned in Auckland.

A pristine copy of Hawaiian Surfboard is part of the Rare Books collection up for grabs at the Art + Object auction house on Wednesday.

The book was written and published in 1935 by esteemed American athlete, inventor and surfer, Tom Blake.

He is known internationally as one of the key people to introduce what was considered a practice reserved for royalty, in Hawaii, to the masses.

The book is based on Blake's travels and experiences with the sport in Hawaii in the 1920s.

Blake would go to and from Hawaii over the years, learning all he could about surfing and the mechanics of it - including modifying the traditional boards, known as Olo surfboards.

Among his modifications, he came up with the idea of attaching a fin to the board.

Art + Object's rare books manager, Pam Plumbly, said Hawaiian Surfboard was considered "an international publishing touchstone."

The copy, which features a tapa cloth cover, is estimated to sell for $3500 to $4500.

Kiwi surfing expert and president of the Surfbreak Protection Society, Paul Shanks, said having such a rare book in New Zealand was incredible, given how sought after it would be around the world.

"It's a privilege to have that book in New Zealand and if someone here could buy it, that'd be great.

"It's a rare part of modern history."

- Herald on Sunday

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