Hawaii's long-time Ambassador of Aloha and the Father of International Surfing, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku is inarguably one of the most famous Hawaiians ever. Ever since he was a young age, he has played in the sand and the sea. He learned to swim when his father and uncle threw him in the water. With friends, he taught himself how to surf. By the age of eight, he was accomplished in both these sports. It was only natural that when the Amateur Athletic Union-Hawai'i was created several years later, Duke would participate in the events. At the age of 21, he beat the world freestyle record of one minute flat for a 100-yard open water swim by 4.6 seconds. This accomplishment by an "unknown" was considered to be so unbelievable by swimming authorities that the decision was disqualified. However, the remarkable feat generated quite a bit of attention for the unstoppable swimmer. Duke went on to compete in national amateur swimming competitions and secured a place on the U.S. Olympic team. He would continue to participate in Olympics swimming and water polo events for the next 20 years. In addition, he contributed to the spread of surfing throughout the world. Sandra Kimberley Hall's book is a moving tribute to a fascinating man. Filled with photos, this book is engaging to surfers and non-surfers alike. 2004, Bess, Ages 9 to 12.
Heidi Hauser Green