Duke Kahanamoku, born August 24, 1890 in Haleʻākala, Honolulu living to January 22, 1968.  Surf legend, actor, Olympic medalist, volleyball player, businessman, law enforcement officer, wave king.  Largely acknowledged for bringing the ancient Polynesian sport surfing to wide popularity. 

Photos courtesy of Goudy Sport Kings, Wikipedia Commons, and Surfer


Happy 125th Birthday to Surfing Pioneer,  Duke Kahanamoku!
(8/24/1890 - 1/22/1968)

Did you notice today’s Google Doodle in honor of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku?

Credited with helping to popularize the sport of surfing, Duke Kahanamoku was born in 1890 to a prominent Hawaiian family. Honing his swimming skills while growing up in Hawaii, he went on to earn medals at the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Summer Olympic Games, followed by an acting career and several terms as the sheriff of Honolulu. The National Archives holds several items related to Duke Kahanamoku, including his World War I Draft Registration Card, in which he lists his occupation as a diver for the Honolulu Public Works Department.

(Thanks to colleagues at the National Archives at Seattle, Eisenhower Presidential Library, and fdrlibrary for the finds!)


Google Doodle Honors Duke Kahanamoku, the Father of Surfing

Known as the Ambassador of Aloha, Kahanamoku traveled the world, bringing surfing to the likes of California, Australia and New Zealand over his lifetime. Aug. 24 marks what would’ve been Kahanamoku’s 125th birthday — he passed away in 1968.

In Hawaii, Kahanamoku is known for much more… a swimming champion, winning five Olympic medals over the course of his career. His success also enabled him to raise the profile of Hawaii’s true passion of surfing.

Kahanamoku was also elected the sheriff of his home county 13 times and starred in over a dozen movies. Most importantly, he is credited with helping the Hawaiian islands achieve statehood in 1959.

Happy Birthday!!!


Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month: spotlight on Duke Kahanamoku.

Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic swimmer and internationally-known surfer. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, as a child, Kahanamoku started a surf club, Hui Nalu, which still exists today. He even made his own light Redwood surfboard that he traveled with everywhere, introducing surfing to Australia. Kahanamoku set world-records, acted in several Hollywood films and settled down in Honolulu to become a sheriff. He will forever be known as the father of international surfing.

Images: Duke P. Kahanamoku by Bain News Service. Public domain  via Wikimedia Commons. Duke Kahanamoku, Hawaiian surfing exponent. Held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.