Duke Kahanamoku Statue in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii

© Richard Susanto/Shutterstock

Duke Kahanamoku Statue

Top choice in Waikiki

On the waterfront on Kalakaua Ave, this imposing statue of Duke Kahanamoku is always draped in colorful lei. The Duke was a true Hawaiian hero, winning numerous Olympic swimming medals, breaking the world record for the 100yd freestyle in his first competitive event, and becoming known as 'the father of modern surfing.' He even had stints as sheriff of Honolulu and as a Hollywood actor. Duke also pioneered the Waikiki 'beachboys,' teaching visitors how to surf.

Some local surfers have taken issue with the placement of the statue – Duke is standing with his back to the sea, a position they say he never would’ve taken in real life.

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