Google Honors Duke Kahanamoku.

by Chris Dixon

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Image by artist Mike Cruickshank, from The Google.

Duke on his 64th birthday August 24, 1954 at the area called Canoe Surf at Kuhio Beach. It is believed to be one of  his last rides. Photo by Clarence Maki.

Duke on his 64th birthday August 24, 1954 at the area called Canoe Surf at Kuhio Beach. It is believed to be one of his last rides. Photo by Clarence Maki.

Today, Google honored the 125th birthday of the modest, dignified man who arguably saved surfing – a pursuit that for untold generations was the fulcrum of Hawaiian society – from the dustbin of history. Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku was born in 1890 on Oahu. He grew up on Waikiki Beach, stunned the world with five Olympic Gold medals in swimming, saved plenty of lives, worked with John Wayne, Johnny Weismuller and Douglas Fairbanks, took countless of human beings on their very first forays into the waves and for years and served as both the Sheriff of Honolulu, and as the city’s unofficial ambassador to the world.

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I could tell you more, but Matt Warshaw over at the Encyclopedia of Surfing does it better.

Happy Birthday Duke. Thanks for changing my life, immeasurably, for the better. — CD


Looking forward to reading this one – coming in October, Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku. By David Davis.

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