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Duke Kahanamoku

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Duke Kahanamoku

Duke Kahanamoku (1915 postcard)

Personal information
Full name: Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku
Nickname(s): "The Duke," "The Big Kahuna"
Nationality:  United States
Stroke(s): Freestyle
Club: The Beach Boys
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

Duke Kahanamoku (August 24, 1890January 22, 1968), was a Hawaiian athlete who is called the inventor of modern surfing.[1] He was also on the United States Olympic team as a swimmer, and won several silver and gold medals.[2]

Contrary to some misinformation on the internet, Duke is not known as the Big Kahuna. He himself rejected that term, because he knew its meaning. The Big Kahuna is a character in the Gidget story, which is based on a portrayal of Tube Steak Tracy, a famous surfer of the '40s & '50s in Malibu.


  1. Hall, Sandra Kimberly. (2004). Duke: A Great Hawaiian. Honolulu, HI: Bess Press. ISBN 1-57306-230-8 . 
  2. "Duke Kahanamoku". Surfline. 

Other websites

Media related to Duke Kahanamoku at Wikimedia Commons

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