By 1779, riding waves lying down or standing on long, hardwood surfboards was an integral part of Hawaiian culture. Surfboard riding was as layered into the society, religion and myth of the islands as baseball is to the modern United States. Chiefs demonstrated their mastery by their skill in the surf, and commoners made themselves famous (and infamous) by the way they handled themselves in the ocean. Anthropologists can only guess at the origin and evolution of wave-riding and surfboard construction in Polynesian culture, since there’s no certainty about the timeline and movements of the Polynesians. Around 2000 B.C., the migration of humans out of Asia and into the eastern Pacific began, and Polynesians established themselves within a large triangle, with Aotearoa (New Zealand) at the south point, Tonga and Samoa along the western boundary and Tahiti and the Marquesas to the east. Forced to migrate into the vast region by the push of population and the pull of the horizon, the first Polynesians arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the fourth century A.D. The Polynesians who made the arduous journey from Tahiti and the Marquesas to Hawai’i were necessarily exceptional watermen and women who brought a deep love and knowledge of the ocean with them. The Polynesians who made it to Hawai’i also brought their customs with them, including playing in the surf on paipo (belly) boards. Although Tahitians are said to have occasionally stood on their boards, the art of surfing upright on long boards was certainly perfected if not invented in Hawaii.