Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968) was a Native Hawaiian competition swimmer who popularized the ancient Hawaiian sport of surfing. He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming. “Duke” was not a title or a nickname, but a given name. He was named after his father, Duke Halapu Kahanamoku, who was christened by Bernice Pauahi Bishop in honor of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Hawaii at the time. Between Olympic competitions, and after retiring from the Olympics, Kahanamoku traveled internationally 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 as well. His surfing exhibition at Sydney’s Freshwater Beach on December 24, 1914 is widely regarded as a seminal event in the development of surfing in Australia. While living in Newport Beach, California on June 14, 1925, Kahanamoku rescued eight men from a fishing vessel that capsized in heavy surf while attempting to enter the city’s harbor. The Duke may be the greatest surfer of all time and if you surf today it is because of this man introducing the art to the rest of the world. He was the original bad ass. Watch this great video and learn about the iconic legend.

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