Famous authors' beach party

Ransom Riggs

While visiting Hawaii, both Jack London and Mark Twain both tried surfing. London hung ten in 1907 -- pictured below, sometime afterwards -- and fell in love with it, writing:

"Where but the moment before was only the wide desolation and invincible roar, is now a man, erect, full statured, not-struggling frantically in that wild movement, not buried and crushed and buffeted by those mighty monsters, but standing above them all, calm and superb, poised on the giddy summit, his feet buried in the churning foam, the salt smoke rising to his knees, and all the rest of him in the free air and flashing sunlight, and he is flying through the air, flying forward, flying fast as the surge on which he stands. He is a Mercury-a brown Mercury. His heels are winged, and in them is the swiftness of the sea."

Tough as it might be to imagine Mark Twain on a surfboard, he tried it too, in 1866. It's not so tough, however, to imagine him being kinda bad at it (he certainly wasn't the sportsman or adventurer that London was) -- needless to say, he fared worse, writing about it in Roughing It:

"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 bottom about the same time, with a couple of barrels of water in me."