Looks who has been honoured with Google Doodle! Yes, Legendary Hawaiian surfer and Olympic-medal winning swimmer Duke Kahanamoku, who would have been celebrating his 125th birthday on August 24, 2015 had he been amongst us. Touted as the King Of all swimmers who shattered all world records in his 20s is always remembered for his zest for life and his indomitable spirit. Also known as an actor, lawman, early beach volleyball player and businessman credited with spreading the sport of surfing. Kahanamoku was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming, to be precise.
Duke was not a title or a nickname, but a given name. He was named after his father, Duke Halapu Kahanamoku, who was christened by Bernice Pauahi Bishop in honor of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Hawaii at the time. The younger Duke, as eldest son, inherited the name. His father was a policeman. His mother Julia Paʻakonia Lonokahikina Paoa was a deeply religious woman with a strong sense of family ancestry.
When Duke became a household name due to his swimming feats, many people assumed he was of Hawaiian royalty. It was assumed by many that he was a duke and that it was his title. He was a very modest and unassuming man who got a chuckle of being thought of as royalty and never hesitated to set the record straight about his lineage.
Kahanamoku died of a heart attack on January 22, 1968 at the age of 77. For his burial at sea a long motorcade of mourners, accompanied by a 30-man police escort, moved across town to Waikiki Beach. Reverend Abraham Akaka, the pastor of Kawaiahao Church, performed the service. A group of beach boys sang Hawaiian songs, including “Aloha Oe”. His ashes were scattered into the ocean.