Duke Kahanamoku was born in Honolulu. His father was a policeman. His mother was a pious woman and deeply aware of ancestry and family. He has 5 brothers and 3 sisters. Duke grew up with siblings and 31 cousins. Duke attended Waikiki Grammar, Kaahumanu and Kamehameha schools, but did not graduate because he had to drop out of school to help his family in difficult times.
The champion of swim and surf
Growing up on the outskirts of Waikiki, Kahanamoku lived the childhood years on the beach. The boy loves surfing and swimming. During his youth, Kahanamoku preferred traditional surfing. He has a surfboard made of wood (a precious wood), 16 feet long (4.9 m) and weighs 114 pounds (52 kg). Later, sometimes he used smaller surfboards but all made of wood.
On August 11, 1911, Kahanamoku set a record of 55.4 seconds of surfing 100 yards (91 m), surpassing the world record at 4.6 seconds, during a Honolulu port competition. He also broke the record at 220 yd (200 m).
Joining the US Olympic swimming team at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm (Sweden), Duke Kahanamoku won a 100-meter freestyle gold medal, and a silver medal team with content. 200 meters of free relay.
At the 1920 Olympics held in Antwerp (Belgium), he won a gold medal both 100 meters freestyle swimming and relaying swimming.
At the 1924 Olympics held in Paris, he won the 100 meter silver medal and his younger brother Samuel Kahanamoku won the Bronze Medal. At 34, this is Kahanamoku’s final Olympic medal.
The surfboard Kahanamoku made from pine is still staying at the Freshwater Beach surfing club. A statue of Kahanamoku is located at the northern tip of Freshwater Beach in New South Wales. He also made surfing popular in the United States for the first time in 1912 starting in Southern California.
During their stay in Southern California, Kahanamoku has participated in several films. In this way, he connected with people who could continue to promote surfing.