The oldest surf photo ever may have been found

February 15, 2017 | Surfing
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 Americans were taking over Hawaii.

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

Vistas of Hawaii

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

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" and is expected to fetch around £2,500.

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