Duke Kahanamoku is a legendary Hawaiian figure in the surfing world. Starting as a swimmer, he helped surfing to rise in popularity. Traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and the US, Kahanamoku was able to introduce the sport to a much wider audience. He truly was one with the water, idolized by those who also wanted to dip their toes into the water sports world.
The bronze statue
Duke even has a statue, sculpted in his memory, situated on Kuhio Beach, Waikiki. Made from bronze, this monument shows the high level of respect this talented individual has. It is an extremely popular tourist attraction, with trolley rides that take you directly to it. Nicknamed “The Big Kahuna,” Duke’s bronze statue welcomes you to Waikiki with open arms. Kahanamoku’s late wife, Nadine Kahanamoku, approved of the statue but told the sculptor Jan Fisher that the shorts were too long. She then took her hand and used her fingernails to mark what the correct length should be. This mark is still there to this day.
Summer fun at Duke’s OceanFest
There is even a festival dedicated to Kahanamoku himself. Every summer,Duke’s OceanFest takes place in Waikiki. It’s a wonderful celebration of the life and talents of Kahanamoku. His legacy will always live on in the hearts of the residents and is a great insight into the beautiful culture of Hawaii. Even Covid-19 didn’t stop last year’s celebrations, as the festival took place virtually. Tourists and locals love to participate in this event, and you will be welcomed with open arms. The DukeOceanFest aids in contributing assets to help the scholar-athletes of Hawaii, giving back to those following in Kahanamoku’s footsteps.
Drinks and music at Duke’s Waikiki
Diamond Head becomes the backdrop for the nightly entertainment at Duke’s Waikiki, located at one of the Waikiki beach hotels. Live entertainment by a fantastic selection of artists awaits you and even some dishes inspired by Duke himself. Chow down on some Duke Nachos while listening to the waves in the distance. If you happen to find yourself in Waikiki on a Sunday, don’t miss out on Duke’s on Sundays. A weekly event full of music and dancing, welcome to the local population and tourists.
History of a hero
Kahanamoku set world records and won many awards, even taking part and winning at the Olympics. His skills in the water not only allowed him to share his expertise with those willing to learn, but he also used them in a moment of heroism. A yacht was hit, and Kahanamoku took it upon himself to save the eight men in danger. Duke was now a hero, not just a world-renowned athlete.
As you can tell, Hawaiians adore Duke Kahanamoku. With events and destinations named after him, it’ll be hard not to hear or see his name somewhere during your travels in Waikiki. Athlete, hero, even movie actor, Duke truly made a name for himself. He garnered so much respect worldwide and is greatly loved by many. Taking part in the activities offered to you that are inspired by Kahanamoku is a must if you travel to Waikiki. Even if you only take a peek at the statue, you’ll soon feel the adoration that so many have for him.
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