On North Beach in Ka'anapali, Maui
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130 Kai Malina Parkway | Lahaina , HI | 96761 | At Honua Kai Resort & Spa
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Duke surfboard

Hawaii's most famous citizen and the "Father of INTERNATIONAL Surfing,"
Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was born August 24, 1890 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the first of six sons and three daughters of Duke and Julia Kahanamoku. He grew up in carefree Waikiki with the ocean as his playground, doing what he loved – mostly swimming, surfing, canoeing and bodysurfing.

At the age of 21 he won his first Olympic gold medal, then went on to represent 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.

Duke's Remarkable Life (1890-1968)

Duke swimming
1890
Born in Honolulu on August 24 to Duke and Julia, full-blooded Hawaiians and descendants of royalty.
1908
Member of Kamehameha School’s championship soccer team.
1911
At 21, broke 3 freestyle world records in his first swimming races in Honolulu Harbor.
Duke golfing
1912
Won 2 Olympic Medals in Stockholm – a Gold while setting the world record for the 100 meter freestyle and a Silver with the U.S. freestyle relay team.
1914
Introduced surfing to the U.S. Atlantic Coast.
1914
Introduced surfing to Australia and New Zealand
1915-32
Helped popularize swimming and surfing in California and the U.S.
1918
Swam in exhibitions in 30 mainland cities to raise money for the war effort.
1920
Won 2 more Gold Medals for swimming in the Antwerp Olympics for the 100 meter freestyle and on the U.S. freestyle relay team. Recommended surfing as an Olympic event.
Duke and friend
1924
Won a Silver Medal in the Paris Olympics in the 100 meter freestyle.
1922-30
Lived in Los Angeles and played parts in over 28 Hollywood movies.
1925
Heroic board rescue of 8 drowning men at Newport Beach, CA.
Duke surfing
1929
Rode a monster wave for 1 1/8 miles at Waikiki – likely the longest ride in modern times.
Duke running
1932
At age 42, won a Bronze medal as an alternate on the U.S. Water polo team in the Los Angeles Olympics.
1934-59
Sheriff for city and county of Honolulu. Re-elected 13 times.
1956
Official U.S. Representative at the Melbourne Olympics.
1960
Appointed the new state of Hawaii’s Official Ambassador of Aloha.
1964
Official guest at the Tokyo Olympics.
1966
First person to be inducted into both the Swimming and Surfing Halls of Fame.
Duke headshot
1968
Died in Honolulu on January 22 followed by a Waikiki Beachboy funeral.
1984
Posthumously inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
1990
Statue dedicated at Waikiki on the centennial of his birth.
1994
Statue dedicated at Freshwater, Sydney, Australia.
Biarritz, France Surf Festival named in his honor.
Duke’s name inscribed in the Huntington Beach Surfer Walk of Fame.
Duke statue
2002
The United States Postal Service releases a limited edition first-class postage stamp depicting a young Duke Kahanamoku in Waikiki.
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