Duke Kahanamoku's Legacy - A Leg Up On The Competition

Duke Kahanamoku’s Legacy – A Leg Up On The Competition

Duke Kahanamoku’s Legacy – A Leg Up On The Competition

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Google gave honor to Duke Kahanamoku on its home page with a Google Doodle* on what would have been his 125th birthday.

One of the most celebrated watermen in history, Kahanamoku was a Hawaii-born 5-time Olympic medalist in swimming, an actor, lawman (Sheriff of the City and County of Honolulu), early beach volleyball player, bodysurfer, renowned lifeguard, businessman and 20th century celebrity credited with spreading the sport of surfing.

He is member of the Hawaii Swimming Hall of Fame and was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer in 1965.

Despite his legacy in swimming and surfing, and innumerable images of his chiseled body around pools and with surfboards, arguably his greatest gift to the sport of aquatics had to do with his feet.

I started the flutter kick at Waikiki,” he once recalled. “I used to do a lot of surfboarding. I found I could propel one by kicking my feet. Later I used the flutter kick in swimming combined with an arm stroke with plenty of reach.”

Imagine freestyle without a flutter kick…we cannot. Just as we cannot think back upon the history of the sport of swimming without including The Duke in the conversation.

*Google Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.

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Steven Munatones