DECEMBER 24, 1914


Born on August 24, 1890, in Honolulu, Native Hawaiian Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku was a 5-time Olympic medalist in swimming, winning medals in 1912, 1920 and 1924. 

Between Olympic competitions, and after retiring from the Olympics, Kahanamoku traveled internationally, particularly to Australia and the United States, to give swimming exhibitions. It was during this period that he popularized the sport of surfing, previously known only in Hawaii, by incorporating surfing exhibitions into these visits. His exhibition at Sydney`s Freshwater Beach is widely regarded as the most significant day in the development of surfing in Australia. The board that Kahanamoku built from a piece of pine from a local hardware store is retained by the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club. A statue of Kahanamoku was erected in his honor on the Northern headland of Freshwater Lake, New South Wales. He died on January 22, 1968, in Honolulu.

Source:  “Duke Kahanamoku,” Monument Australia.  Retrieved 7/6/2022, Duke Kahanamoku | Monument Australia.
Photo:  Author unknown.  Date:  Circa 1912.  Public Domain.  

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