Duke Kahanamoku

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Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968 is generally regarded as the person who popularized the modern sport of surfing.[1] He was also an Olympic champion in swimming. Growing up on the outskirts of Waikiki, Kahanamoku spent his youth as a beach boy. It was at Waikiki Beach where he developed his surfing and swimming skills. In his youth, Kahanamoku preferred an traditionalsurf board, which he called his papa nui, constructed after the fashion of ancient Hawaiian olo boards. Made from the wood of a koa tree, it was sixteen feet long and weighed 114 pounds. The board was without a skeg, which had yet to be invented. In his later career, he would often use smaller boards, but always preferred those made of wood. After retiring from the Olympics, Kahanamoku traveled internationally, particularly 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. On January 22, 1968 the world would bid Aloha to Hawaii's most famous citizen. He would be remembered as a great swimmer, surfer and all-around good guy. More than 20 years after his death memories of his achievements and affecting personable style still linger.


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