1 minute read

Duke Kahanamoku

Hawaii's Official Greeter

In 1934 Kahanamoku gained office as Sheriff of Honolulu; he also owned and operated two gas stations in the city. In 1940 he married Nadine Alexander; the couple did not have any children. While serving as sheriff, a post he held until it was abolished in 1960, Kahanamoku continued to make film appearances and attended numerous international surfing events as the sport's elder statesman. In his retirement Kahanamoku was appointed Hawaii's official greeter, a ceremonial post that recognized his contribution to promoting the state's culture and traditions. In 1965 Kahanamoku was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame; the following year, he was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame.

Although Kahanamoku still cut an impressive figure as he reached his seventies, a heart attack in 1955 and cerebral blood clot in 1962 limited his physical activities. One of his last major appearances was as guest of honor at the U.S. Surfing Championships in Huntington Beach, California in September 1965. In December 1965 he attended the Duke Kahanamoku Invitational Surfing Championships in Hawaii; when the event was telecast the following year on CBS, it attracted the largest audience ever to watch a surfing competition, estimated at up to fifty million viewers. He also made headlines for showing the Queen Mother how to dance the hula during her visit to Hawaii in May 1966.

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsExtreme SportsDuke Kahanamoku Biography - A Hawaiian Childhood, Olympic Star, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, The Father Of Surfing