HOW AGATHA CHRISTIE HELPED POPULARIZE SURFING—YES, SURFING is by Jim Kempton, the award-winning former editor in chief of SURFER magazine. The post appears on the CrimeReads website.
“Agatha Christie had an astonishing talent for writing detective novels. Her short story And Then There Was None is the world’s best-selling mystery. With over 100 million copies sold, Publications International lists the novel as the world’s sixth best-selling title of all time. But writing aside she was also one of the most adventurous women of her age—and she found her passion for surfing every bit as fervent as her enthusiasm for entrancing murder plots.
“In the summer of 1924, she and her husband Archie had taken a side trip from their planned round-the-world sailing route specifically to try the surf in Hawaii. This was the leg of their voyage they had been most excited about when they had set sail on an eight-month global sojourn that had taken them to South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. They had been introduced to surfing in Cape Town, and as Agatha wrote about her experience in a novel, published two years later, The Man in the Brown Suit: “Surfing looks perfectly easy. It isn’t. I say no more.”
“The surf boards in South Africa were made of light, thin wood, easy to carry, and one soon got the knack of coming in on the waves. It was occasionally painful as you took a nosedive down into the sand, but on the whole it was great fun.”
“But they had really only tried prone surfing in Cape Town. In Hawaii they would learn the fine art of standing upright on a board—and learn the power of Hawaiian waves even on the gentler South Shore of Oahu. It would be a memory that set her on a course for life…”
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