When it comes to surfing, everyone remembers many famous names and very rarely is Duke Kahanamoku mentioned in the galaxy of outstanding surfers. But this stately Hawaiian with a white-toothed smile is the “father” of surfing.
When no one on the continent knew about wave riding in the early twentieth century, Duke Kahanamoku set an excellent example for the Americans by bringing this wonderful sport to the California coast.
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The start of a Hawaiian boy’s sports career
On August 24, 1890, the firstborn was born into the family of a Hawaiian office courier, who was named Duke in honor of the Duke of Edinburgh.
And although Duke Kahanamoku had nothing to do with the representatives of the “blue” blood, in the future, he will often be associated with the royal family of Hawaii.
The boy grew up among five brothers, and the favorite fun of solid and athletic guys was entertainment on the ocean: swimming, diving, rowing, and surfing.
Passion for sports did not allow Duke to graduate from school. The guy, who showed considerable interest in the ocean, showed unprecedented success in competitions with peers, which predetermined his career as an athlete.
He dropped out after ninth grade and experienced many jobs before becoming a sports star. Unfortunately, the young black Duke happened to be a loader and a janitor and also experienced discrimination – the guy was not allowed into any reputable institution.
One of the best surfers in the history of surfing – Duke Kahanamoku
Kahanamoku burst into the sport with resounding successes and showed that a modest and straightforward Hawaiian guy could wipe anyone’s nose. In 1911, Duke Kahanamoku broke two swimming world records at once – 50 and 100 yards.
During this time, he founded the Hui Nalu surf club, which was the second association of surfers in the history of humanity.
Participation in the Olympic Games
In 1912, Duke Kahanamoku took part in the Olympic Games in Stockholm. The athlete not only showed a brilliant result – Duke sets a new record in the 100-meter swim, and in the relay at the 200-meter distance, he received silver.
At the next Olympic Games in 1920, Kahanamoku surpassed his result and received gold medals at the exact distances.
Duke Kahanamoku became a famous athlete, and he is called the “fish man” for his ability to overcome any distances with dexterity in freestyle swimming.
He travels the world and popularizes surfing, demonstrating to the public the ability to stand on a three-meter board and perform various tricks.
These shocking and impressing spectators crowd on the shore. In 1924, the Olympics in Paris added a silver medal to Duke’s list of awards in the 100-meter swim.
Surfing popularizer, actor, and hero
Even at a reasonably mature age, Kahanamoku possessed the strength and agility of a 20-year-old guy, could overcome a long distance in swimming and ride a big wave in surfing.
In addition, the athlete starred in many films, playing secondary roles – his slender, tall figure adorned the screens in episodic scenes.
In 1925, Duke Kahanamoku gained fame as a real hero, brave and strong: during one of his surfboard voyages, he witnessed the wreck of a fishing boat and saved the lives of eight anglers.
Surfing Father – Duke Kahanamoku
Duke Kahanamoku has been surfing for almost his entire life. He became an inspiration for many outstanding surfer followers, and at the age of 70, he switched to sailing and a more relaxed oceanfront vacation.
At 77 years old, the great Kahanamoku died of a heart attack, leaving an imperishable memory of himself – his achievements, his love for the ocean, and an extraordinary kind of water sport – surfing.
Duke went down in history as a talented swimmer, skillful surfer, and actor, and his philosophy of life became the philosophy of every novice surfer.