The 100th anniversary of Duke Kahanamoku's visit to Freshwater Beach

January 14, 2015 | Surfing
Duke's Day: a tribute to 100 years of surfing in Australia

One hundred years ago, Hawaiian legend Duke Kahanamoku introduced surfing to Australia. On the 10th January, 2015, Freshwater Beach celebrated the life and legacy of "Big Kahuna".

Duke's Days is a special day for Australians, and for surfers in particular. The 100th anniversary of Kahanamoku's visit to Sydney had a special re-enactment of the surfing display that Duke thrilled the crowd with.

Hawaiian surfer Duane DeSoto rode an exact replica of the 38-kilogram finless surfboard Duke made while touring Australia in the summer of 1914/15.

"For me to play Duke Kahanamoku as part of the 100th year celebration at Freshwater is humbling and a real honour. Duke is the father of modern surfing and one of Hawaii's most respected citizens," underlined DeSoto.

DeSoto also picked up young Lilly McDonald - playing the part of Isabel Letham - for the recreation of the famous tandem surf display.

"On their first wave it looked as if Duane and Lilly were headed for the bottom, but by some miracle Duane, helped along by Lilly’s agility, was able to pull the nose of the board up to successfully get Lilly standing up on her first ride. It showed Duane’s skill as a surfer and with maybe a little help from the Duke in spirit also," added Paul Strauch, member of the Hawaiian delegation.

Bernard "Midget" Farrelly, Australia's first world surfing champion, hit the water to mark 100 years of wave riding in the country, and a total of 198 surfers smashed the Guinness World Record for the most Malibu surfboards assembled for a photo.

May Duke Kahanamoku and the "Spirit of Aloha" live forever.

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