Competition
  • Premier League
  • Liga Portuguesa
Premier League
Liga Portuguesa

Surf

Duke Kahanamoku Olympic gold medallist and surfer

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Hawaiian Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968) was a five-time Olympic swimming medalist. Duke, his name rather than a title, was also a policeman, an actor, a beach volleyball player and businessman. He was widely credited with popularising surfing, at that time only known in Hawaii. He easily classifed for the USA Olympic swimming team in 1912, beating the 200 metre free-style record in qualifying.

Photo: Hulton Archive Getty Images

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

The papers reporting on Duke's record in Sweden 1912.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke won the gold in the 100m in Stockholm 1912 and 1920 in Antwerp. He also got gold in the 4x100 in 1920.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke won two silver Olympic medals: in Stockholm in the 4x200m relay and Paris 1924 in the 100m freestyle.

Photo: American Stock Archive Getty Images

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke with his brothers Sam and Dave, also swimmers, at the Paris Olympics in 1924. Sam won the 100m bronze, with Johnny Weissmüller taking gold and Duke silver.

Photo: Underwood Archives Getty Images

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

From left to right: Duke Kahanamoku, Clarence 'Buster' Crabbe, Harold 'Stubby' Kruger, Johnny Weissmueler, Judge Elmer F Hunsicker, Paul Goss, Mabel Fitzmorris, Ella Layne Brown and Carolyn Wayman in Ohio, USA in 1932.

Photo: Underwood Archives Getty Images

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke Kahanamoku in 1930 with his board "Papa Nui" made of koa wood in the old 'olo' style. It was 4.8m long and weighed 52 kg.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke Kahanamoku with American swimmers, Charlotte Boyle and Ethelda Bleibtrey ready for surf at Waikiki in 1925.

Photo: Hulton Archive Getty Images

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke Kahanamoku tandem surfing at Waikiki in the 20s.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke in Hawái in 1935.

Photo: General Photographic Agency Getty Images

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

In addition to being a swimmer and a surfer, Duke was a hero: while living in Newport Beach, California on June 14, 1925, he rescued eight men from a fishing vessel that capsized in heavy surf. 29 fishermen went into the water and 17 perished. Newport's police chief at the time said of Duke's efforts that it was "the most superhuman surfboard rescue act the world has ever seen". Since then, surfboards have been standard issue for life guards in the US.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke promoted surf around the world.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

In addition to competitive swimming, Duke travelled the world giving swimming and surf demonstrations. His show at Freshwater Beach, Sydney on 23 December 1914 is considered the most important event in the development of Australian surfing.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Young surfers listening to the master.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke Kahanamoku and John Wayne in the film "Wake of the Red Witch" in 1948. Duke lived for a time in Southern Californa and was an actor and an extra in a number of films. He used his Hollywood contacts to promote surfing.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke was the first person to be inducted into both the Swimming Hall of Fame and the Surfing Hall of Fame. The Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championships are named in his honour.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Duke Kahanamoku surfed his whole life and will always be remembered as the father of modern surfing.

Photo:

Update:

Duke Kahanamoku, "The Big Kahuna"

Kahanamoku died of a heart attack on January 22, 1968, at the age of 77. His ashes were scattered in his beloved sea. There is a statue in his honour in Waikiki, Hawaii.

Photo: Van de Ven Mary Getty Images/Perspectives

Update:

18 / 18