The pronunciation of the original word, paepo'o, was altered, and now even the spelling is changed to paipo. Published by Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1977. He notes that while it's true that "paepo" can be translated as "night landing" (as noted in the mo‘olelo by Alfred Solomon), Clark has since learned that the original word was actually "pae po'o".Today "to paipo" means to go bodysurfing with a "bellyboard." The board itself is called a paipo board."Source: page 9 in The Beaches of O'ahu, By John R. The following is from the manuscript: In the earliest descriptions of surfboards by Hawaiian scholars, the smallest boards, those that were shorter than six feet in length, were generically called papa li`ili`i, or "small boards." During the early 1900s, the name papa li`ili`i was changed on two fronts with non-Hawaiian surfers calling them bellyboards, because they were most often ridden prone, the rider laying on his or her "belly," and with Hawaiian surfers in Waikiki calling them pae po`o boards. It does not appear in any Hawaiian dictionaries, Hawaiian language newspapers, or writings of the prominent Hawaiian scholars of the 1800s, such as `I`i, Kamakau, Kepelino, and Malo, who described traditional Hawaiian surf sports.
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SI was born on September 15, 1905, and I'm a cousin of Bill Sproat... They're two small concave boards about 1/4-inch by 1 foot by 3 feet made of wiliwili, and they were used for spying.
The spies selected a night with rough seas and then surfed in to gather information about various activities. I heard this from the old people and they said that's why the boards were called paepō, "night landing." - Alfred Solomon, June 25, 1982Source: page 302 in Hawai'i Place Names: Shores, Beaches, and Surf Sites, By John R. Clark, published by University of Hawaii Press, 2002. Turns out that John Clark rides what appears to be a paipo board as pictured in a Q&A with him on the blog, Literary Lotus (author, Christine Thomas). Clark's research he traced some of the possible transition to the modern day usage (at least sometime in the 1950s through the present) of the word, paipo, to describe the method of riding waves on a board prone style:"In the days of old, Hawaiians referred to bodysurfing as kaha (or kaha nalu) and pae (or paepo'o).
He is also an avid bodysurfer and one of the founding fathers of the Sandy Beach Bodysurfing Championships in 1972, and was the head judge (and a competitor) until 1989. During the early 1900s, the term paepo'o was commonly used in Waikīkī, and it meant riding a wave with only the body.
After World War II, this particular word took on an alternate definition, referring to bodysurfing with a small board. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.] identifies and describes the types of surfing that native Hawaiians did, one of which was pae po'o, or prone board riding.