Thursday, 11 August 2011

George Freeth

George Freeth (November 8, 1883 – April 7, 1919) is often credited as being the "Father of Modern Surfing". He is also thought[by whom?] to have been the first modern surfer.
There is some confusion of where he came from with the Americans claiming him as one of theirs and Ulster saying he is theirs. According to the San Diego Reader, Freeth was born in Oahu in 1883. His mother was part-Hawaiian. His father was Irish. Freeth died at the age of 35 as a result of the global flu pandemic in 1919.
Freeth is credited by some with developing the rescue paddleboard and the rescue can, tools commonly used by lifeguards. However, the United States Lifesaving Association asserts that the rescue can was designed by Captain Henry Sheffield in 1897. Freeth has been reported to have received the Congressional Gold Medal for his heroic rescue of Japanese fishermen in storm conditions. He did not however, according to the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, which issues the award
On August 7, 2008, it was reported that a bronze bust of Freeth was stolen from the Redondo Beach Pier where it was on display. Police have no leads but suspect that it is the latest victim of scrappers based on its copper content.

His life and contribution to surfing and lifeguarding is a significant part of the documentary film Waveriders.

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