Roughing It is an early work of Mark Twain’s (a prequel to Innocents Abroad) in which he describes his travels of the American west, and more interestingly perhaps, the (then) Kingdom of Hawaii:
The surfer would paddle three or four hundred yards out to see, 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 to 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 sand about the same time, with a couple of gallons of water in me.