Hawaii, 1890s: two Polynesian natives carry their surfboards on a sandy beach at Hilo Bay | Photo: Herbert Smith

Historians believe they have found the oldest surf photo ever. It was taken in the early 1890s, in Hawaii.

Herbert Smith, an amateur photographer born in Manchester, shot two Polynesian natives carrying surfboards on a sandy beach at Hilo Bay, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

According to the specialists, the snap is more than 120 years old and was captured three decades before surfing became a proper tourist attraction in Waikiki Beach, Oahu.

The author of the photo, Smith, was a draper. He traveled from Liverpool to Honolulu and spent a year working and documenting life in the Pacific archipelago when Hawaii was being taken over by Americans.

The portfolio also includes pictures featuring Portuguese and Japanese plantation workers, children eating sugar cane, and other striking snapshots into daily life.

Hawaii, 1890s: a Polynesian native poses for the photoshoot | Photo: Herbert Smith

Herbert's family kept the old images safe and well-conserved, including personal letters documenting his travels, and decided to put the collection up for auction.

The series of 62 shots was named "Vistas of Hawaii: Illustrating Life and Scenery in the Hawaiian Islands" is expected to fetch around £2,500.

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