Who was Duke Kahanamoku?

Duke Kahanamoku statue in Waikiki

When you are in Hawaii, you may see references to Duke. You can find a beautiful statue of Duke Kahanamoku on Waikiki Beach near Kuhio Beach Park. By Hilton Hawaiian Village, there’s a lovely man-made, saltwater lagoon named after Duke Kahanamoku. There’s even a surfing contest named after Duke.

Who was Duke, you ask? Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic swimming champion in 1912, 1920, and 1924. He was also widely known as an excellent surfer and often credited with making surfing popular. He was born in 1890 and grew upon Oahu near the famous Waikiki Beach. It was there that he practiced swimming, surfing, and canoeing.

Here is a helpful video from PBS Hawaii about Duke Kahanamoku
References: Go Hawaii, Wikipedia

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