It’s a bigger honour than a knighthood. It’s a bigger honour than last month when a C-list celebrity favourited your tweet. It’s even a bigger honour than that one time your stingy mate actually bought you a pint.
The Google doodle, many would say, is the ultimate acknowledgment that you’ve made a worthwhile impact on the human race, and today, on 24 August 2015, it’s in full honour of Duke Kahanamoku – the father of surfing.
If it wasn’t for the Hawaiian legend, California, New Zealand and even Australia would’ve taken a while longer to clock on to the surf world. Duke travelled the world, bringing surfing to places where it’s now not only a sport but a way of life.
The “Ambassador of Aloha”, who was born in 1890 and passed away aged 77 in 1968, would’ve been 125 years old today. So happy birthday to the Hawaiian hero!
Of course, Duke wasn’t just known for his surfing. He was also a five-time Olympic medallist in the world of swimming, breaking three freestyle world records in 1911 when he first competitively swam.
In case that wasn’t enough, Duke was single handedly responsible for surfboards becoming a tool for rescue swimmers, after spotting a fishing vessel in trouble in 1925 and paddling into a storm to help out and save eight lives.
Most importantly to many though, was his surfing. Kahanamoku used to use his fame to draw people to competitions and surfing events in California and along the Atlantic Coast.
He brought surfing as we know it to the Southern Hemisphere in 1914 and 1915, and to SoCal shortly after. He’s a legend, and now he’s been featured in a Google doodle, everyone in the world will know it!