Today marks 130 years since the birth of Duke Kahanamoku. Through his exploits on a surfboard, in the Olympic arena, and even in Hollywood, in his 77 years on this blue planet Kahanamoku grew to be known as Hawaii's Ambassador of Aloha.

"Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality, which makes Hawaii renowned as the world's center of understanding and fellowship," famously said Kahanamoku. "Try meeting or leaving people with Aloha. You'll be surprised by their reaction. I believe it and it is my creed."

More than a century later, his creed has spread around the world in ways in probably never imagined. And every year surfers and ocean-advocates from around the planet gather to celebrate his birthday with the goal of creating a "holiday of Aloha."

Duke's OceanFest and the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation are inviting everyone around the world to celebrate Kahanamoku's legacy. Whether it's surfing, paddleboarding, swimming, volleyball, water polo, canoe rides or simply sharing an act of Aloha, today is the day to remember Hawaii's original waterman.

Normally, Duke's OceanFest and the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation celebrate this day in person in Waikiki, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, the holiday is encouraged to be celebrated and shared virtually.

According to Duke's OceanFest, here's how you can get involved:

  • Post Duke's Day posters anywhere your ohana will see it.

  • Invite your friends to participate safely in an activity that the Duke enjoyed: surfing, paddleboarding, swimming, volleyball, water polo, canoe rides, etc. Smiling faces, shakas, and sharing Aloha are all part of Duke's legacy. These activities can take place on or anytime prior to August 24.

  • Share your experiences on social media using the following Hashtags and Tags: #DukesDay2020, #alohaDukeForever, #catchawave4Duke, #hauolilahanauDuke, @DukesOceanFest, #DukesOceanFest. You can also direct emails and messages to info@dukesoceanfest.com with your photos and stories. Duke's OceanFest will compile these images and submissions and post on our Social Media Channels throughout the day and the rest of the year.

History of Duke Kahanamoku

As Hawaii's most iconic waterman, Duke Kahanamoku made his first Olympic appearance in 1912 where he competed in the 100m freestyle, setting a new World Record and winning his first Gold Medal at the age of 21. He went on to compete again in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics. In total, Duke won three gold medals for the United States, and was credited with developing the flutter kick.

Also known as the Father of Surfing, Duke Kahanamoku spent his time after the Olympics sharing the art of board riding around the world to places like New Zealand and Australia. He even demonstrated how to use the board as a lifesaving device.

All through his lifetime of competitive watersports, Duke advocated for surfing's entrance in the Olympics. Even though surfing was still in its early stages, Duke saw its potential as a legitimate competitive sport. Now with surfing set to make its Olympic debut in 2021, we can honor his lasting legacy 130 years after he was born.

Click here learn more about Duke's OceanFest.

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