Lonely Planet Writer

Honolulu's Bishop Museum to hold Duke Kahanamoku exhibition

Olympic gold medal winner, businessman, lawman and actor Duke Kahanamoku was one of the archipelago’s most famous ethnically Hawaiian residents. Thanks to a new exhibit at Honolulu’s Bishop Museum opening 9 August, visitors and residents will learn about this important Hawaiian figure.

Duke Kahanamoku statue.
Duke Kahanamoku statue. Image by Daniel Ramirez / CC BY 2.0

Credited with popularizing the sport of surfing, ‘The Duke’, whose statue stands on a beach in Waikiki, grew up during the tumult of the late 19th century, when the islands experienced the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, a subsequent counter-revolution and the eventual complete annexation by the United States in 1898. At the 1912 Summer Olympics, he won the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle, and went on to achieve medals in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics in swimming.

After retiring from the Olympics, he went on to give swimming exhibitions where he also popularized the sport of surfing, which had until then only been heard of in Hawaii. Read more: travelweekly.com