You may not have heard of this man unless you’re a Hawaiian native or have a keen interest in the history of surfing. But back in the day, Duke Kahanamoku was a true legend.
First and foremost, he was a prolific swimmer, earning five Olympic medals between 1912 and 1924.
“He was the first person to take surfing to Australia”
At the time surfing was still a very niche past-time in Hawaii and it was largely thanks to Duke’s efforts that it spread around the world: Between swimming competitions he toured internationally putting on exhibitions and also sharing surfing with the world.
He was the first person to take surfing to Australia, putting on an event at Freshwater Beach just north of Sydney in 1914 – an event that lit the surfing spark down under and introduced Aussies to their national sport.