In one place we came upon a large company of naked natives, of both sexes and all ages, amusing themselves with the national pastime of surf-bathing. Each heathen would paddle three or four hundred yards out to sea, (taking a short board with him), then face the shore and wait for a particularly prodigious billow to come along; at the right moment he would fling his board upon its foamy crest and himself upon the board, and here he would come whizzing by like a bombshell! It did not seem that a lightning express train could shoot along at a more hair-lifting speed. I tried surf-bathing once, subsequently, but made a failure of it. I got the board placed right, and at the right moment, too; but missed the connection myself. — The board struck the shore in three quarters of a second, without any cargo, and I struck the bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me. None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly.
Mark Twain, on his trip to Hawaii, in Roughing It (1872), Ch. LXXIII : Native Canoes—Surf Bathing—A Sanctuary—How Built—The Queen's Rock—Curiosities—Petrified Lava.
It was so big [the wave], it didn't even know we were there.
Daniel Webber, as quoted in "Welcome to the Weird and Wonderful World of the Webber Clan", interview by Tim Baker, Australian Surfing World Magazine, Issue no. 271 (2004).