Happy Birthday, Duke

Gary Kewley
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Friday - August 25, 2006
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Modern paddlers enjoy the same ocean and views that Duke did
Modern paddlers enjoy the same ocean and views that
Duke did

Aloha, surfers!

Wave No. 1: We’ve got waves! And, they’re not going to stop until after the end of August. In fact, there are storms forming in the South Pacific that have even more swells coming, into the first week of September, Labor Day. Now such long-long range forecasts are “subject to change,” but I’ll bet my favorite board on chest-high surf.

I’ve got a good question for surfer-bloggers: What would you rather have 1) One 6-foot swell per month, or 2) Three 4-foot swells? My guess is that the vast majority would opt for No. 2. That’s pretty much been the summer of 2006. Stoked! Log on to SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM and e-mail me.

Wave No. 2: Duke Kahanamoku would be stoked with his fifth annual OceanFest. All week we’ve had sunshine and surf for long-boarding, paddle-boarding, long-distance open-ocean swimming, volleyball, tandem surfing and more! Duke was a guy to reach out, spread aloha, and share the feelings of surfing and the ocean. Well, that’s the real deal, and that’s what it’s all about - celebrating the Waikiki surfing tradition.

All of the many OceanFest events this week are set to say “Happy Birthday, Duke!” who was born Aug. 24, 1890 (116 years ago this Thursday). He was a legendary waterman who grew up in Waikiki. Who would have known a young Hawaiian boy would grow up to do so much for our beloved sport ... and Hawaii’s message of aloha to the world?

Known as the Father of International Surfing, Duke is also Hawaii’s greatest athlete - winner of six Olympic medals (swimming), three of which were gold. Duke was the first person ever to be inducted into both the Swimming Hall of Fame (1965) and the Surfing Hall of Fame (1966). To do all of this, not only with his huge athletic ability, but with his huge heart and smile, makes his life even more golden. Duke’s spirit shines on in the sun and surf.

Wave No. 3: Just as Duke’s life gave back, the OceanFest truly does also. Jim Fulton, president of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF), said it best: “It’s all about the kids. We’re honoring Duke Kahanamoku, but we’re doing it to support Hawaii’s scholar-athletes and help our youth with their development. Last year, thousands of residents and visitors took part in the festivities and had a fantastic time. This year it will be even bigger and more exciting.”

A primary objective of Duke’s OceanFest is raising funds for ODKF’s college scholarship and athletic grants program. Leading this effort is Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Hawaiian Airlines and Corona. I also want to give a million mahalos to everyone and every organization for their help. If you’d like to be a part of it all, please do two things: 1) Visit DUKEFOUNDATION.ORG and 2) Come on down!

Well, that’s going to wrap it up for me this week. I’m surfing with the Star-Bulletin/MidWeek surf team and our complementary legend is Joey Cabell. I wanna be sure I don’t disappoint our master competitor, so I’m off to practice ... surfing! Oh, poor me.

The Hawaiian Airlines-Duke’s Legend Surf Classic is Friday and Saturday. I’d like to see you there!

GQ, Dropping in 4 U!

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