Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was born August 24, 1890 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was the first of six sons and three daughters of Duke and Julia Kahanamoku; and he grew up with the ocean as his playground!
At the age of 21 he won his first Olympic gold medal, before going on to the United States in the Olympics for 20 years, winning not only medals but the hearts of people all over the world. He is remembered as a swimmer not just for remarkable speed, but for his grace in the water, his good humor, and his sportsmanship.
#DukeFacts: Duke Kahanamoku was named “Duke” in honor of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Hawaii at the time of his birth.
Today, Duke is considered the Ambassador of Aloha.
Around the world you’ll find other tributes to the legendary Duke Kahanamoku. In Sydney, Australia there is a statue dedicated at Freshwater. The French Surf Festival Biarritz is named in his honour. And Duke’s name is inscribed in the Huntington Beach Surfer Walk of Fame.
And in Hawaii…
On Kuhio Beach you’ll be welcomed to Waikiki by a bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku with open arms. Duke was a true Hawaiian hero and one of the world’s greatest watermen. He was a true master of swimming, surfing and outrigger canoe paddling!
And at Waikiki Beach you can experience old Waikiki by making yourself at home in the legendary Duke’s Bar & Restaurant.
With Diamond Head in the distance, you can overlook the spot where Duke rode his largest wave (a 30 foot swell named Bluebird from outside Castles) as you quench your thirst with a Mai Tai whilst sitting on the original site of the Outrigger Canoe Club where Duke reigned the beach.
#DukeFacts: Did you know that Duke Kahanamoku helped save stranded fishermen off the coast of California? This incident became known as the ‘The Great Rescue’ and led to surfboards as a common tool to help rescue swimmers.
The restaurant offers delicious original Hawaiian-influenced cuisine, a generous helping of Aloha spirit and one of the most famous views in the world.
But by far the most exciting item on the menu for the ambassadors and I was Kimo’s Original Hula Pie. For those of you with a sweet tooth, it’s magnificently satisfying!
Duke’s really is a must-see spot when you’re in Waikiki this July. I mean who could resist yummy cocktails and mammoth slices of pie overlooking Diamond Head?!
See you there at Global!
P.S. Splash, body surf or surf, in the warm, turquoise water just below Hawaii’s icon, Diamond Head – just like Duke did. Here are our top picks for learning to Surf:
- Aikau Pure Hawaiian Surf Academy
www.waikikibeachactivities.com or (808) 951-4088
- Surf Academy by Dane Kealoha
www.hyattsurfacademy.com or (808) 357-8715
- Ty Gurney Surf School
www.tygurneysurfschool.com or (808) 271-9557
Faith Surf School
www.faithsurfschool.com or (808) 931-6262
About the Author
Becca is an avid traveller, a trained copywriter and one of Australia’s leading video marketers. As a creative content producer she’s pumped to be engaging, entertaining and intriguing the FCTG nations with written and visual communications in the run up to Global.