Surf History and the Duke

Surfing means such different things to each of us. For some it is a hobby that fills a gap on a summer weekend whereas to others it is a lifelong all-encompassing passion, or even a career. Surfing has a history as diverse as the characters that shaped it from an almost forgotten sport of kings into a billion dollar industry. We hope you enjoy our new “facts about surfing” section.

In today’s article we’re meeting the most influential figure in surfing’s rich history. Enjoy.

Duke Kahanamoku

“The Duke” is considered to be the father of modern surfing. After winning gold in the 1912 Olympics he gave swimming demonstrations around the world, often finding time to tack on a surfing demonstration when he found waves. He brought surfing mainstream attention in Australia, New Zealand and even mainland America.

Duke was the first person to be inducted into both the swimming and surfing Hall of Fame and served as the sheriff of Honolulu from 1932 to 1961. He appeared in numerous movies and his statues stand to this day on the beach in Waikiki and upon the headland at Freshwater Beach in Sydney.

Duke was honoured as the century’s most influential surfer in Surfer Magazine in 1999. Check out this gem of a video interview with between Duke and Bruce Brown in 1965.