FreeboardingClick here to play the story:
Narrator: Janie Ellis
Arizona summers have always been celebrated by finding new ways to beat the heat. Valley families flocked to canals to take a dip and enjoy a picnic. Swimming parties were popular among young society, where they built bonfires and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Sometimes 300-400 recreationists lined the canal “beaches.” One woman’s brother and his daredevil friends found a way to recreate the California surfing scene in Arizona, but don’t try it this summer. Canals are still great recreation spots but for safety reasons, swimming – and “freeboarding” – is no longer allowed.
- The Arizona Canal Company began work on the Arizona Canal in May 1883.
- The Grand Canal is the oldest remaining pioneer canal on the north side of the Salt River. Construction began in 1878.
- The Tempe Canal is the oldest continually used canal in the Salt River Valley Water Users Association system.