The Hawaiian was an absolute legend, and his lore is much more than him being the Father of Modern Surfing. During Duke Kahanamoku’s prime, he had no equal in the water — surfing or swimming. And the gold medalist swimmer employed his ascent to the top of the podium at the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics as a spring board to spread both surf and aloha to the far reaches of the Earth, introducing his passion for wave riding to the mainland United States, Australia, and places the world over, effectively birthing modern surfing.
And he only grew better with time. Kahanamoku’s mentee (and legend in his own right) Tom Blake went as far as to say “Duke attained his greatest surfing satisfactions and some of his greatest achievements as a rider after his 40th year.”