Stream Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha | American Masters | PBS
♪♪ -good night everyone and welcome to ‘this is your life’.
now, believe it or not, but tonight’s theme is on our stage for “this is your life” right now.
In fact, you’re looking at a scenario familiar to our guy who thinks he’s going to do a travelogue based on his native Hawaii.
and the audience has been told to keep very quiet.
agree. Let’s go into the studio and get our surprise out right now.
here we go. -Caramba.
-They fixed it a lot around here, didn’t they?
no, no. I’m doing a show in the studio tonight.
Actually, I’m doing it right now.
yes, I’m doing it right now.
and you are a very important part of it.
-go right now.
-because, duke kahanamoku, this is your life.
[ applause ] -a brown-skinned man being celebrated on national television.
when you come across something that is so genuine and so good, you can’t help but drop everything you think you know about people.
He changed lives just by being who he was.
-you can bet it. He was a very quiet, shy, humble man.
he didn’t like to be in front.
-Only American swimmer who has participated in five Olympic Games.
-people talked about jim thorpe, jesse owens, jack johnson.
and lost in the shuffle is the duke’s role as a racial pioneer.
-duke was one of the best athletes in the world in the 20th century.
You know, I don’t care what your opinion is.
Name any other American athletes who have had statues erected in three different countries.
-he is a smile. he has open arms.
statuesque aloha athlete.
-I don’t know if ordinary people know who duke kahanamoku is, but for us he is the king of surfing.
-duke showed his aloha by spreading surfing all over the world.
look at the tree of surfing: wakeboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding. all board sports in the world are derived from this Polynesian sport.
-you alone, duke, saved the lives of eight… -rescued so many people.
Saving lives was not a profession back then.
-well, that’s a long story.
-yes. [laughs] -he’s a real renaissance man.
I mean, a whole new sport, breaking records in another sport, playing music and sharing the aloha spirit with people from all over the world.
was the ambassador of aloha. he used his platform to do good.
-a Hawaiian to the end.
the amount of pride he was able to give his people.
was one of the biggest celebrities in the world.
-I think that for anyone to have the pressure of being the first Polynesian to go around the world, to introduce your culture, it would be a heavy burden.
♪♪ -because duke was such a cool figure and had so much aloha, we might not get it.
It was probably much more difficult than we assumed.
-this is your life, duke kahanamoku, world champion athlete, a living legend whose love for the people represents the true spirit of your beloved island.
♪♪ ♪♪ -Samoans, Tongans, Hawaiians, and many of us live in the Polynesian triangle.
[ship’s horn sounds]: The Hawaiians have developed different island kingdoms here between the chains.
-In the 1700s, the war chiefs ushered in one of the bloodiest periods in Hawaiian history.
Which of the caciques would unite the islands and the people?
-king kamehameha ended the wars, uniting all of hawaii under his control and creating a kingdom recognized and respected throughout the world.
-the son of king kamehameha ordered the destruction of all the temples and the burning of religious images.
-that was 2,000 years of law.
-it was just poof, it was gone overnight.
this opened the door for missionaries because hawaii had no religion.
-his children and grandchildren dedicated themselves to the sugar cane business.
-his economic power ensured that his influence in the kingdom increased.
-the cabinet of the Hawaiian kingdom was full of very corrupt businessmen.
-queen lili’uokalani attempted to restore power to the monarchy.
-they saw this as an act of revolution.
♪♪ President Grover Cleveland called for the restoration of Hawaiian government.
– Congress rejected that recommendation.
-there was active suppression of speech and teaching of the Hawaiian language.
-forbidden to teach esoteric law, forbidden to teach hula.
-while our old people died and the young people forgot our language, we lost resources to transmit our history through oral tradition.
-Hawaiians were in danger of extinction, a minority in their own country.
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -water flowing from beach to beach, from continent to continent, connecting the world, a power unmatched on earth.
offering abundance of life to the wise and swift death to the unwary.
its vast extension is so vertiginous that throughout history it has been seen as a border with the rest of the world.
But for the Hawaiian watermen on that seemingly endless barrier of water, they saw paths connecting to other lands.
Deep down where most would fear drowning, they saw a provider of life.
and when he was surrounded by some of the most imposing and imposing giants unleashed on the sea, a man of water found a way to play.
♪♪ For the man of the water, shaping a surfboard is a sacred event.
choosing the tree, shaping the wood, were part of bringing out the spirit of what was in the wood.
They weren’t just making a board.
they were creating new life.
Generations of knowledge and practice poured into a board so they could provide nourishment for their people and become one with the wave.
however, when duke was born in 1890, hawaii practices and traditions, including waterman customs, were dying as the world modernized.
-He was raised in the climate of all that change.
and I think it was natural for him then to turn to the ocean where Hawaiians can still have that cultural affiliation, this cultural association with being Hawaiian.
-it is our place of meditation more or less, and just being in peace and happiness at the same time.
-the ocean is our church.
the ocean is our school.
the ocean is our workplace, you know?
-at 14, duke kahanamoku left the school that rejected his traditions and denied his language and instead embraced his kuleana, his responsibility to bring the old ways to life, to master the highest Hawaiian tradition.
Become a water man.
-I felt like a Hawaiian that I should keep that alive and give it back to Hawaiians and make them proud.
-you know, his father taught him to dive, fish, surf, sail, row and swim.
-this is what we are supposed to know.
just how to take care of ourselves, how to find food, how to build boards, for example, whatever, which was part of who we are traditionally.
-a man of water is someone who can do everything in the water and sometimes the most dangerous elements that the ocean can offer not only for fun, not only for food, but also to keep it well preserved for the next generation.
-when you were a kid in hawaii, you wanted to be a water man, and the duke was the ‘great kahuna’.
-As Duke focused on becoming a true Waterman, mastering ancient Hawaiian skills and practices, he was also cultivating what he felt was one of the most important philosophies and teachings of Hawaiian culture.
-one day we had a conversation and I said: ‘what do you think is the most important Hawaiian word?’
and he says, ‘without a doubt, ‘aloha’. for most, ‘aloha’ simply means ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’.
But for Hawaiians, the spirit of aloha is a way of being.
-when we take ‘aloha’ and if you break it down, the ‘alo’ is for face to face and the ‘ha’ comes from here.
It’s in your na’au, your piko, your heart, whatever you want to say, but it’s sharing your spirit because we all have a spirit, right?
and that spirit is what you share with that person.
You give freely of yourself.
-duke understood that ‘aloha’ is not a greeting or a word of greeting or farewell.
aloha was a lifestyle.
-it’s almost everything. this is how we live our life.
is all we do, we should have aloha with him.
aloha I feel like best relates to love.
-That’s how it was taught from the beach, at home, wherever you were, you have to have aloha.
if you don’t have aloha, then [scoffs] you’re not alive.
-and Duke’s aloha spirit would be tested from the start.
when the first american athletic club was created in hawaii, it brought something completely foreign to the hawaiian way of life: segregation.
-when the outriggers formed, they took their model from the continent and from england and other places where you’re not going to have the working class.
It was also white-only.
so duke is not an original member of the stabilizer club.
is not allowed to join.
-however, the first issue of created by club founder alexander hume ford to promote sports in hawaii featured a statuesque surfing duke on the cover.
the club was clearly confident in duke.
he was her role model.
-duke was then accepted by everyone to be part of that elite club, but he was the master.
I’m sure duke was taken advantage of a lot in his life because of how nice he was.
but Duke being the Hawaiian that he is and was, he just smiled and moved on.
duke’s brothers approached duke and said: ‘we are going to set up our own club and we will call it hui nalu to surf the waves’.
-and it was mixed. there were Hawaiians, haole, hapa haoles, and there were also women.
I think, in his own way, he’s a better accountant or more, you know, a smarter accountant.
and then they started to compete against the outrigger canoe club.
I assume there was animosity, but with all the love Hawaiians have, Hawaiians were actually teaching them how to surf, teaching them how to drive a canoe, teaching them how to catch a wave.
♪♪ ♪♪ -what, duke?
-I didn’t think I would ever get into this program.
-you never thought you’d be on this show.
We are going to tell you the story, ladies and gentlemen, of a Hawaiian boy who became the most famous swimmer in the world.
-at that time, duke liked rowing more than swimming.
I know because I ran against him in many races.
-yes, the voice of an old competitor, duke, one of your closest friends, george ‘papa’ center, world famous in swimming… [applause] if duke was more interested in rowing, how did he become in the world’s best-known swimmer?
-well, after rowing practice, the different crews participated in swimming races and duke always won.
-August 12, 1911 was an important date for the Duke, right, Dad?
-yes. It was the first time Duke had participated in a formal swimming competition.
-This was the first time that the prestigious amateur athletic union held a race on the islands.
So, for Hawaiian elites, this was an opportunity to finally be recognized by the rest of the country.
but for duke, he was just there to have fun.
-you know, you don’t know. you have no idea
They lived down here.
fished, surfed, kayaked.
It wasn’t like they went out for swimming races.
So now they say to someone, ‘I want you to swim against this guy.’
‘well, what for?’ ‘let’s see how fast it is.’
‘swim as fast as you can until there’.
‘oh, okay. whatever.’ you know?
a water man, he will be playing in the water.
♪♪ ♪♪: This is not a period of time when people prepare from childhood to be Olympic stars.
that hadn’t happened yet.
so duke has a natural talent for swimming.
In addition, he has a body that will work well for swimming.
-that’s exactly what it was. it is natural for him.
and when he jumped and swam, he had to swim faster than him.
It wasn’t about the other person.
I don’t think he ever thought anything about it.
he just had to be faster than himself.
♪♪ -it’s your territory. I mean, he knew those waters better than almost anyone alive.
and it was like, ‘I’m going to beat these guys.’
♪♪ -the timekeepers didn’t believe his stopwatches because they showed that he had beaten the world record not by fractions, but by whole seconds.
-duke swam 100 yards in 55 and 2 tenths of a second, and the world record was 1 minute.
-there were two races that day.
duke not only broke both records.
Hawaiians came into this excited for national recognition, but duke gave them the spotlight of the world.
-we are talking about seconds in a race that takes seconds and literally in a minute and a half, he changed the course of his life.
Now he was on the world stage, although the world was not ready for him.
-most people don’t believe it and say: ‘ha, what is this? who is this dark guy?
and the currents must have been helping it or the weather.
there’s no way this is legit.’
it’s so – it’s so abbreviated from what the existing records are that once the information reaches the us. uu. continental, people say, ‘no, no, no, no, no, that can’t be possible.
this guy couldn’t have done it.
I couldn’t have done it that fast.’
-they didn’t think it was possible.
They had never heard of this guy.
they couldn’t pronounce his name.
they refused to accept duke’s world records.
-they assume, ‘well, you don’t really know how tides work.
You really don’t know how to handle a stopwatch.’
I mean, that’s… it’s just an insult.
Duke was used to being treated like a second-class citizen, being Hawaiian.
what the aau did was a slap in the face to all hawaii, hawaiians, haole, et cetera.
and here you have the powerhouses of haole in hawaii very proud of the fact that they were able to host an aau meeting.
the reaction was, ‘you don’t count.
you’re just hawaiian and you don’t know what you’re doing.’
-the aau left open the possibility that if duke were to compete against their best swimmers, they would be interested in seeing him perform.
but not in hawaii.
-have to do it again to confirm that duke can really swim that fast.
There are no corporate sponsorships.
and getting from the hawaiian islands to north america and then across the atlantic to europe means a lot of money.
-what happened? people came to his rescue.
They organized baseball games. They performed dances.
They did whatever kind of fundraiser they could.
They gave twenty-five cents and dollars, whatever they could.
-not only Hawaiians, also haole, Asians, Filipinos.
-sometimes I was at the level of a Chinese laundry giving a dollar.
He would never have become an Olympian if it wasn’t for the generous people.
♪♪ -there’s a collective pride in someone’s achievement where you’re from, and it’s once again, it’s not just strictly Hawaiians who are doing it.
is a local community that comes together to help you get on your way so you can do what you can do.
♪♪ -On February 8, 1912, Duke, along with two other swimmers, set sail for the mainland, leaving Hawaii for the first time in his life.
it was a two week trip by boat and then by train to pittsburgh, where he was scheduled to compete.
-it’s cold. sees snow for the first time.
Travel across this immeasurably large continent.
-never experienced snow. you know, that’s all foreign.
-traveling across the vast continent, anything else would have given duke a chilly reception.
racial segregation, the antithesis of aloha.
It had only been 50 years since the civil war, and it would be another 50 years before the civil rights act.
-the united states at that time was still very segregated.
There were laws that kept dark-skinned people separate from light-skinned people.
-there is a saying in Hawaiian.
‘mahape ale wala’au.’
means ‘don’t speak’. keep it in your heart.
For some, not being able to enter would generate resentment.
but for duke, ‘mahape ale wala’au’ was a way of life.
As a black man, whatever uneasiness he felt, Duke probably kept it in his heart.
♪♪ -the pressure was on him because the American chants despised him.
was a native hawaiian. where the hell was hawaii?
-he is dark-skinned, and duke was not a physically small person.
-and his hands and feet were so big they dwarfed my hand.
it just disappeared every time he shook her hand.
-and had feet size 13 or larger.
What I had on were paddles and fins.
It wasn’t chopsticks I was dipping into the water.
I was dipping some important blades.
-he was supposed to be the unofficial world champion, having broken the other person’s record by 4 seconds.
-it’s a fish out of water, almost literally.
you have a two week trip from hawaii to a small pool at a club in pittsburgh, which was filled with cigarette smoke, fans were screaming and pointing at you, in a sense, everyone looked at it and said: ‘try it, try it . what do you have?’
and by the way, for the first time in your life, you are going to swim indoors.
that’s what duke had to overcome to be the best.
♪♪ -our blood is thin because of the warm water.
and i think when duke jumped, it was a shock to the body.
and not only to the body, but also to the mind.
-the water was different for him.
I’ve never swum in a pool before.
Swimming pool water is not like salt water.
-the mind is saying ‘do this’ and you push yourself beyond what the body is used to and everything starts to lock up.
♪♪ -since duke’s body betrayed him, not being able to finish the race must have been a physical and mental shock.
the world record holder, the water man, the pride of hawaii can’t finish a race and had to be rescued.
-everyone chuckled because this was supposed to be the world record holder.
-the press, who have heard about this type of Hawaiian hurricane, just turn to the other side, the mainland press, and say: ‘this guy is just a fable.
is not a real competitor. can’t handle the pressure.
maybe in hindsight, it was a good thing that it failed immediately because I had to say, ‘you know what? this is different.’
-in my opinion, the basic components of a water man is humility.
As a student of the ocean, that would have made him quite resistant to failure.
Failure is not going to stop you.
you’re just going to find a different route.
-not everyone had seen duke as a failure.
the head coach of the university of pennsylvania swim team, george kistler, saw something special in duke.
gave him some advice.
-duke learned so fast that kistler agreed to train him for free.
-duke being very nice, being very humble, I think that was recognized as well.
everyone went back to hawaii.
duke stayed on dry land to sink or swim.
and, in a sense, he let george kistler help him.
-kistler pointed out three areas for improvement: diving into the pool, doing the turns, and breath control.
-once he understands and is able to channel what he learned from kistler, he becomes almost unstoppable.
♪♪ -as a man of water, that doesn’t surprise me, because it speaks to his profuse willingness to learn.
he had to implement some kind of technique that he had to learn, and then he beat all the people who taught him how to do it.
♪♪ -at that time, there were very few opportunities for non-whites to compete at the highest level.
but in 1912, james sullivan is the head of the olympic committee.
I had a goal.
I had jim thorpe on the team, another native american, louis tewanima.
in your opinion, if duke was the best, then he should represent hawaii and the united states.
I mean, for America, sports at the time, that was – [laughs] it was integrated.
-suddenly, it’s like I’m a superstar.
and a lot of that is important to us. history, too, because the united states never had a strong presence in swimming and as part of olympic sports.
-had come from nowhere to the Olympic team in the space of three months, which is probably a story unlike any other in Olympic history.
-you’re talking about a high school dropout who is a beach boy.
that’s it. now you’re on a… you’re on a boat that’s going to the olympics, representing the united states.
I think he felt pretty good about himself.
I had come a long, long way, more than anyone.
-I know that the duke is not only the fastest swimmer I’ve ever met, but he can also fall asleep faster than anyone.
[laughs] -a friend of yours from the 1912 olympics, michael mcdermott from chicago, illinois.
[cheers and applause] duke’s ability to sleep at any moment nearly lost him a crown, didn’t it mr. mcdermott?
-Of course. we had participated in the Olympic parade.
After the parade, we arrived at the stadium.
well, the duke wasn’t there.
We were looking everywhere for the duke.
We looked under the dais and there was the Duke fast asleep.
and after waking him up, he barely had time to put on his suit and get on the tank when the weapon started its event.
-the 1912 Olympics are mainly European and American. you don’t have many asians.
You don’t have many Africans.
so duke is unique.
-is a diplomat in two ways.
is a diplomat from hawaii and is a diplomat from the united states.
Can you handle the pressure of the moment?
and he was so relaxed that he fell asleep.
-most people, you know, get in the pool and warm up.
with duke, he’s sleeping under the bleachers.
-it’s just what you do every day.
I believe that our greatest athletic achievements are when we are calm and in a natural environment.
♪♪ ♪♪ -his stroke and style were so smooth and effortless.
-is known as a swimmer who has a unique style.
and part of that style is this kick.
people said, ‘where did you learn to swim like this?’
and his answer was, ‘it’s in my blood’.
-changed the world with the kahanamoku kick, the double flutter kick, the same kick that, you know, michael phelps learned, the same kick that my coach taught me.
-this is how Hawaiians swim.
when you lose that board and you’re past the first break, you have to swim.
there is no strap. these guys are flying on the water.
well, he’s smoking them.
[cheers and applause] -well, how did it go?
-well, he won his preliminary and broke the world record.
-the eyes of the world’s athletic elite were now on duke.
but he took a crushing blow.
US officials were misinformed about the time of the 100m freestyle semifinals.
duke, who did not show up, would be disqualified from the event that everyone knew he would win.
but then something amazing happened.
-this aussie guy is like he really wants to race duke because there’s a lot of talk about duke being a fast swimmer.
-cecil healy logged a complaint that the race shouldn’t take place because the Americans weren’t there.
-he told the officers he wouldn’t run unless duke was running.
-for me, that’s just, wow, that’s my hero.
‘I can win a gold medal here, but I’m not going to win it against the best.
I want the best to be in the water with me.’
♪♪ -thanks to cecil healy, duke was allowed to compete.
what cecil did embodied the olympic spirit, even when he jeopardized his own chances of winning gold.
-it’s a proud Australian moment for me that put everything aside and said, ‘you know what? I am in a race against the best in the world.
To me, that’s what sportsmanship is all about.
-cecil would have won gold, but he only won silver because duke won it by 2 seconds and duke got his first gold medal.
-well, he won the final and set a new world and olympic record.
and then the king of sweden, king gustaf, crowned him with the laurel wreath that corresponds to the winner of the olympics.
-five months after leaving home, this unassuming young man, unknown to the world, was now the official world champion and gold medalist.
Instant world fame followed, his name appeared on the front pages of newspapers, his smile shone in magazines and newscasts around the world.
this moment cemented him as the living embodiment of hawaii.
when the world saw duke, they saw hawaii.
[gunshots, explosions]: It was the first time an enemy had attacked English soil in nearly 900 years.
-in december 1914, six months after the war to end all wars and the 1916 olympics in question, the duke would set sail from hawaii on a historic three-month voyage to australia and new zealand, the voyage that would likely It would never have happened were it not for Duke’s well-known story and the sportsmanship of his rival, now friend Cecil Healy.
-if he had decided not to speak for duke, he would have won gold.
duke and cecil formed a very close bond, which led to duke being invited to australia to participate in a series of swimming events in 1914, ’15.
-all this in the context of the whitest country in the world.
australia treated indigenous people very badly.
-there were quite a few Samoans, Tongans and South Sea Islanders, considered second class citizens.
-cecil was confident that duke would win over australia, writing: “i venture to predict that he will have ingratiated himself with the affections of a large number of australians before embarking on his journey home”.
Upon arrival in Sydney, it was immediately clear that the Aussies had more on their minds than just watching him swim.
-when he arrives, before getting off the ship, one of the journalists puts it on.
‘do you have a surfboard with you?
in other words, ‘will we take you to…?’, it says, ‘no, I don’t have a surfboard.’
-there were already surfers here in australia.
they weren’t duke’s caliber.
You could only learn to surf by reading a book or by getting on a boat and going to Hawaii and seeing how it’s done.
-The weird thing was that the surfboard ride was possibly the fault of the swimming people because they used the sign that had it on the surfboard to promote the swimming events.
-the australians wanted to see duke surf, but he didn’t have a board.
As any good boatman would say, “Okay, I’ll make one.”
-boards weren’t really made here.
the guys who rode surfboards, the board also came from hawaii.
so duke bought a piece of sugar pine and probably cut it down there in the sand hills, who knows.
-the crowd gathered around duke, excited to finally see a Hawaiian surfboard being made.
duke probably had no idea that he was creating the template for the table that Australians would use for decades to come.
-when making a surfboard, and traditionally in Hawaiian ways, there were a lot of rituals that went along with it, finding the right tree, saying the right sentence, essentially getting the board out of the tree.
and duke was a master at doing that.
-is not necessarily just a board.
is a living entity on our planet and our island, our world.
that spirit within this object, nurture it in life, right, and it brings out what it wants to be, not what you want it to be.
♪♪ -building in anticipation, crowds packed the shore.
everyone knew this would be a great day for australia.
For Duke, this day would be one he would treasure for the rest of his life.
-surfing was something like his free time.
It wasn’t exactly what he was invited to the field for.
-crowds and crowds. there were many people on the beach.
and you should also remember that it was considered dark or black.
and in those days, racism was a big part of society.
-after the initial introductions, paddling during the break.
they thought I was in trouble.
[laughs] but obviously it wasn’t.
♪♪ ♪♪ -really rode the green wave.
Much of what was being done was waiting for the wave to break, collecting the white water and riding it to the beach.
the fact that he was in the back and driving it before it broke put the entire performance level up for miles.
-duke rode the wave diagonally from the north end of the beach to the south end, something that would never have crossed the minds of Australians at the time.
-He was aware that he was an actor.
People wanted things that made headlines.
-duke was a showman.
He didn’t just get on his board and surf.
could stand on his head.
duke was not the first surfer, but certainly no one had really seen elite quality surfing performed by the best surfer in the world.
-for him to come and show people how to ride Hawaiian style certainly showed us a great way to do it.
-I don’t think anyone has seen it to the caliber that duke was capable of.
Australians came to see what this surf was.
-it was wonderful. The waves in Australia, as he soon discovered, were some of the best in the world.
and people mugged him on the beach.
-duke helped break down those social barriers.
It was just one of the guys.
-then, after that demo, one of the journalists writes that when duke is in hawaii, he’s so good he can ride tandem with a young guy on his shoulders.
can duke ride tandem in australia?
accepts the challenge and isabel springs into action.
She was a bit of a tomboy, she swam and did things that girls of that time weren’t supposed to do.
-Hawaiian and a white girl.
another broken barrier.
-back then, in 1914, ’15, there was still a lot of segregation.
women at that time, on manly beach, did not know how to swim.
they couldn’t go to the pub.
you didn’t have a career. you did not travel
you got married and had children.
and that was it.
-she didn’t even know he was coming.
took the wave, and then picked her up by the neck and stood her up in front of him.
she didn’t know what to do with it.
He said it was like falling off a cliff.
that blew her away.
♪♪: the myth is that she becomes the first woman to ride a board in australia.
-she is a pioneer, particularly in the sport of surfing, so that women can go out and surf.
you know, he loved that moment.
For her, it was a turning point that allowed her to see that there is probably a bigger world out there than the one she was currently living in.
♪♪ He was an incredible influence on any surfer and he celebrated that moment all his life.
The modern woman, decades ahead of her time, traveled and had a career and paved the way for other women to say, ‘maybe I could do that.’
i love that we had a non-white hawaiian with isabel, she discarded society’s expectations and said, ‘no, we’re going to do this.’ It’s going to be fun.’
and i think that’s what duke was all about with his surfing, just having fun.
-As crowds stormed Duke that day, it was clear the purpose of that trip had changed from watching the Olympian swim to watching the Hawaiian waves.
-his tour was front page news during the two and a half months he was here.
there was a great turnout for the swim races, which is why he came initially.
riding surfboards was the lasting legacy that really made a mark on Australian society.
the surfboard ride took over.
-the news of the duke’s exploits in australia had reached new zealand and had generated so much expectation for his arrival that it seemed that the whole country had been closed.
-when he got to new brighton, the schools closed, the stores closed, even the post office closed.
-Thousands of people came to see him give a surf exhibition.
-for the maori, the indigenous people of new zealand, duke represented hope because what they saw is the most famous man in the world, adored by all races and cultures, and he was like them: polynesian.
-you are greeted by a traditional Maori marae.
There is a lot of pride in that exchange from one Polynesian to another.
-I think that all the indigenous cultures that have been colonized were suppressed.
They are seeing someone who looks just like them feted around the world as this incredible and heroic figure.
I think it instilled an enormous amount of pride.
♪♪ -I think the Maori meant a lot to them to see a Hawaiian, you know, spreading their culture, and how he was proud to be Hawaiian and encouraged them to find things, to be proud of themselves. and spread it.
[singing in Maori] -ever since they saw duke, Maori have shared with the world.
we have a lot of maori athletes who are part of the big teams and represent new zealand and become really proud and inspiring people.
-I think there is now a massive resurgence of indigenous pride.
should be celebrated.
should be celebrated everywhere, this guy who looks like one of my uncles – [laughs] – started surfing here in christchurch.
for that and for the domino effect it caused, years later, I take the board and do the same.
♪♪ – receives invitations to make appearances all over the world – in europe, in america, on the continent.
-duke was putting on a surf show, and hundreds and hundreds of people go to see these shows where he’s surfing.
-I think the Duke shared surfing with the world because it was the greatest gift he had ever received, and he wanted other people to experience it.
-brings to its shores a sport that no one has seen before.
The transfer of that was, you know, literally kids running home and looking for their mom’s ironing board and trying to surf on an ironing board.
-the Hawaiians developed the art of riding waves for pleasure and developed surfboards.
surfing is hawaii’s gift to the world.
-surfing started with people like duke, who shared it and wanted people to be a part of it.
is the spirit of hawaii.
♪♪ -duke was number one.
better than the mayor, the governor and all.
I mean, because he was our hero.
Here, under the shade of towering coconut palms, the native beach boys still sing and play the enchanting tunes of old Hawaii.
-and it’s not just him but all of his – his brothers and his friends and his cousins and his community down there.
-duke and his brothers, those are real beach boys.
you know, those were beautiful years, those years.
-this is our number one beach boy song, y’all.
♪ tall, dark and thin ♪ ♪ tonight hemo skin ♪ -♪ e lei, ka lei lei ♪ -waikiki beach boys were very colorful.
Some of them wore costumes on occasion and played pranks to make people laugh and have a good time.
-♪ cha cha ♪ -♪ cha cha cha ♪ -her laughs and screams, give us our first photo of the Hawaiian – happy, carefree, all alive.
-when you look back and read other people, they’ll say, like, how women used to call beach boys bronze gods and all that kind of stuff.
-when I see pictures of beach boys at duke’s bay, their pecs, their arms, I’m like, ‘god, where did they lift weights?’
-♪ from the bottom up ♪ ♪ to the land ♪ ♪ where they spend their days off ♪ -so you had a group of rich elite tourists coming to hawaii in the early days.
they say many rich divorced women would come to hawaii to escape, and have a lot of fun hanging out with duke and his friends surfing.
-♪ now it’s time to drink ♪ -of course, one of the favorite hobbies was taking a young girl tandem surfing.
-♪ okole maluna ♪ [ applause ] -okole maluna! to the bottom!
-the beach boys earn very good money in those times.
They also become local celebrities.
and duke is seen as a kind of chief, an alaka’i, or protector.
did not tolerate racism, prejudice and other things.
In their domain, in the ocean and the waves, they were the boss, and everyone knew it.
-trust me, when duke said something, everyone listened.
It doesn’t matter what race it is, as long as you’re having fun.
-duke was always surrounded by people of different ethnicities, of different colors.
We hug everyone who came to Hawaii.
-it’s really intriguing to me that duke represents this counter narrative to what tourism was trying to sell hawaii.
duke, however, becomes this mascot of hawaii as, again, a kind of warrior figure.
-we could have been an agricultural state, in my opinion.
But when the beach boys showed everyone how much fun it is here, I hold them solely responsible for the tourism industry that Hawaii enjoys today.
-what was good for hawaii put duke in a difficult financial position.
His status as a world-class record-breaking athlete brought him attention he couldn’t otherwise get.
if duke had earned a couple of dollars playing baseball, like jim thorpe, he could have been classified as a professional, disqualified from the olympics forever.
hawaii’s powerful insisted that duke remain an amateur.
♪♪ duke was forced to rely on others for his livelihood.
-that stopped him.
that circumscribed his life to some extent, because what he’s really good at is that he can’t go out and make money.
-they put a lot of value on him winning.
the duke was rewarded with a house.
I think he found himself trapped.
I had no money.
so if he wins, hawaii wins, right?
you talk about pressure.
-In 1916, Duke was a world-class swimmer at the height of his physical fitness.
after four years, he was hungry to defend his gold at the olympic games in berlin.
but fate had other plans.
♪♪ The war that many thought would have ended long ago had reached its peak.
the games were cancelled.
Over the next several years, Duke remained an amateur, setting world records at the 1917 AAU Nationals in Honolulu.
♪♪ but in 1920, the war was over.
belgium welcomed the return of the olympic games.
But the devastation of the war took a heavy toll.
♪♪ 143 Olympians died in the war and many were simply not physically fit to compete.
-Many of the Aussies were unable to compete.
germany was banned.
so two big competitors are off the board, and the rest of europe is decimated of young men.
-one loss in particular affected the duke deeply.
♪♪ -cecil was the only gold medalist swimmer to die in the first world war.
-He is one of our more understated heroes who formed a real bond between Australians and Hawaiians.
-he had a very short life, and to this day he is greatly missed.
♪♪ [cheering and applause] -another colleague of yours, duke, and friend since 1912, here’s ludy langer. Ludy Langer.
[cheers and applause] -what made 1920 so memorable for duke?
-well, that’s the year duke broke his own world and olympic record, and you did it on your 30th birthday, duke.
-duke is now some kind of elder statesman of the us. uu. swim team and leader of this Hawaiian contingent who basically takes over the team in 1920.
♪♪ -you made it so easy with that lean form of yours, you just beat these other guys with a terrible flurry and usually a world record.
-I scared him once. -just once?
-thank you, ludy langer.
-against a diluted field, American success is unprecedented.
-after his latest olympic triumph, duke came to a crossroads.
With his future uncertain, he charted a new course.
♪♪ for years, friends tried to get duke out of hawaii.
was the most famous swimmer in the world, rubbing shoulders with some of the most important people on the planet.
Looking to capitalize on his Olympic success and prepare for life after amateur sports, Duke set his sights on Hollywood.
♪♪ -the film industry, the film industry is booming and so are the angels.
He decided to give it a try and see what would happen with the movie career.
♪♪ -he is part of a social group that is important.
You’re not just working in the dark.
dates movie directors and movie stars.
is teaching people to swim and also to surf.
-I don’t think he was trying to impress anyone, and that’s what impressed hollywood celebrities so much.
He was just being a duke and had a presence that, to them, was his job.
for him, it was natural. he was a star
[ applause ] -now it’s 1924.
duke – paris, france, 34 years old.
The world is watching anxiously to see if Duke Kahanamoku will retain his title.
-this was my first olympic competition, and i was many years younger than duke. -Yes, pulo’u.
-yes, duke, the only man – [laughs] – who could – what does that mean? Or maybe you shouldn’t tell me.
The only man who could have defeated you, your former opponent and now close friend, the man who broke established world records, Johnny Weissmuller!
♪♪ -johnny weissmuller came on the scene a monstrous talent.
long, lanky and ripped, with a teen idol look.
-johnny weissmuller was the greatest American swimmer of the first half of the 20th century.
a supreme talent in the pool.
was built more like a michael phelps.
you’re in the heart of that golden age of the 1920s, and you’ve got babe ruth and jack dempsey and bill tilden and these heroic figures in sports that sportswriters are making heroes of.
-the press emphasized the rivalry between johnny and duke.
the showdown was ready.
olympic games in paris, 1924.
-He had a whole family working against you here.
-by the way, yes.
the kahanamoku brothers were pretty well represented.
next to duke, were david and sam.
-Hawaii was everywhere!
♪♪ -how was the 100 meter race?
-johnny came first, i came second and my brother sam came third.
-duke helped you beat him, right, johnny?
-yes, he did. you know, we trained together in the olympics. -Yes.
-and this big idiot, just gave me all the confidence in the world.
-did he have a feeling that you were going to beat him and did he help you? -Well, of course.
It made me go back and get in that pool and work up and down.
He was like a big brother to the boys.
-I gave him a training. -Yes.
But, you know, the funny thing is, he never… never really cared for himself too much.
all he wanted to do was make sure the united states got that one, two, three at the olympics.
-we did it. -we did it.
-they really respected the competition and the people they were competing against.
then they became good friends.
there was no big problem in competing with each other.
-they loved each other. they could play together.
They were naughty together.
-thank you, johnny weissmuller.
-duke was not bitter about the fact that johnny outshone him and humbly acknowledged johnny’s place as the best swimmer in the world.
-it was really like brothers.
and i think duke was really proud of him, while other people would maybe be jealous.
♪♪ [movie projector on] -hey, wait a minute till I cut your coupon.
-I don’t ask for that. Do missy a favor.
-thank you, Corporal.
-duke returned to hollywood to pursue his film career with the same humble determination that made him a world champion.
but could only get small parts and extra work.
To protect his amateur status, he couldn’t use his greatest asset: swimming.
I was paralyzed.
duke spent nearly a decade searching for a leading role, only to witness the meteoric success of a close friend.
the man who bested duke in the pool has now outshone him on screen.
[ tarzan scream ] ♪♪: the ultimate irony is that the swimmer who exceeds beyond expectations what his entertainment value is was his greatest rival in the pool, johnny weissmuller, who gets the role of tarzan because, well, he’s an olympic champion like duke, but he’s also white.
-…galaxy of stars, the camera captures johnny weissmuller -tarzan for you… -hollywood, at that moment, is completely white.
is a stereotype because he is a person of color and is only allowed to be an extra.
♪♪ -johnny, who ended up breaking his record, became best friends. he turns into tarzan.
so it’s kind of… it’s an injustice, I’m sure, that he felt, because like, ‘I’ve been doing this for a while, but I’m never going to be able to do what johnny just did .’
was one of the biggest celebrities in the world, but they weren’t about to make him a leading man, even though he was a leading man to everyone in the nation.
on the screen, that story was not ready to be told.
♪♪ [ water splashing, waves roaring ] -while in california, duque sought renewal in the waters of the pacific.
Although he depended on it to heal, he was not unaware of its destructive power.
-one day, June 14, 1925, you are surfing in newport beach, california, when a fishing boat capsizes offshore under the onslaught of 25-foot waves.
[waves crashing, wood creaking] ♪♪ -I was with duke when we saw the ship capsize.
-there were 17 people on board the ship.
♪♪ -the waves were so high that it was practically impossible to go through the waves and reach the people who were in the water.
♪♪ -It was an awfully big day for surfing, and he and his friends didn’t really venture into the water right away.
the waves were huge.
and duke knew in his heart that something bad was going to happen, and the ship capsized.
Everyone fell overboard, fully dressed in jackets, pants, and heavy gear.
♪♪ -a good sailor will make sure everyone else is safe and secure.
-this comes from ‘kuleana’, a very important word, translated as ‘responsibility’.
duke saw people suffering and struggling and said, ‘I can do something.’
simply took responsibility and jumped right into the water.
-took his surfboard, which was never shown, never used to save lives.
-being the one who was a duke and a surfer and for him, the ocean is a home.
is a natural element.
you know, the storm, the waves, knowing where to be, where to exist and where not to be.
In the ocean, it’s about choices, not opportunities.
and you can see the point of impact – ‘don’t be there.
Wait for the wave to hit and spread all its energy, then paddle or paddle in.
calls a person to come back in’.
-he finally made it through the breakers and ran towards the survivors on a surfboard.
-Three times, duke returned from the shipwreck to shore, and each time, he brought back survivors.
-a superhuman feat.
I’ve done surfboard rescues for 25 years, and if I had to do what he did that day, I never would have been physically able to do it.
[ waves crashing ] ♪♪ ♪♪ -of the 17 people on board, five lost their lives, and you alone, duke kahanamoku, were responsible for saving the lives of eight of the remaining survivors.
-That was a very good day.
-thank you, tom and joe henry, for retelling this amazing story of duke’s bravery.
[cheering and applause] [sound of waves] -not only did he fight to save them, trips back and forth, pushing his body beyond the limit, when they brought all the survivors, he returned because of that he didn’t make it.
♪♪ -I mean, there has to be a time when he rows down and the boat sinks, and they’re dying in front of him, you know?
and so that this trauma, like all trauma, stays with you forever.
-knowing that duke values each life as a family, I think that’s what all Hawaiians or all Polynesians carry in their hearts, that, you know, everyone, regardless of color, is a life.
It can be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, someone who, you know, loves that person, you know, and you wish if it were your mother or your father, that someone would take away their kuleana, or responsibility , and go out there and rescue him, help him.
♪♪ -He hid when he downloaded the news to get the story out.
There are so many different stories about that rescue because it was told by his friends.
duke hid because he couldn’t save everyone.
-don’t forget about those heavy rescues.
it haunts you when you see someone you somehow imagine, you know, ‘what if?’
Or could I have gotten them?’
-in hollywood, they were not willing to make him a leading man.
But that didn’t stop him from doing the things he did.
Not only did he save lives, but he brought these people back because of the goodness of who he is.
that’s… that’s… that’s a lead, if you ask me.
that’s it, that’s it, that’s a man filled with nothing but aloha for everyone and everything around him.
♪♪ [ waves crashing ] -did you like hollywood?
-oh, I loved it. I enjoyed the moving image.
– approximately how many photos were you in?
-there must have been about half a dozen or more.
and then I came back on the 28th.
-how do you find hawaii today?
-well, bob, to tell you the truth, I don’t like it very much.
-you don’t like it. -All these concrete buildings, they seem to be out of my way.
-well, if you could choose, would you have preferred to live your youth in the old days or to have lived your youth today?
-I’d rather go back. – live the old days.
♪♪ -the end of the 1920s brought more adversity.
duke retired to hawaii, where, without any recent success, he was seen as a failure.
Forced to do menial jobs to survive, he became the butt of jokes.
but with his eyes on the next games, he kept going.
In 1932, when his body was aging at 42, he surpassed his 1912 100m freestyle record, but still only made the roster as an alternate on the water polo team.
[ applause ] -member of the united states water polo team, the only swimmer from the united states to have participated in four olympic games.
-retired after the games as a four-time Olympian, with three gold and two silver medals.
As the duke prepared for life after the Olympics, reality set in.
The champion was now 40 years old, an unemployed high school dropout with no alternative plan.
-you might have heard of duke when he played a swimmer… -some people would say, ‘oh, okay.
you know, he’s just a beach boy.’
but it’s hard to make money as a beach boy.
-he’s one of those people that everyone knows who he is, but he doesn’t make any money.
so people just think, ‘well, he’s famous.
must have money’, and he didn’t.
-when they squeezed him for everything he had in that time period as a junior super athlete, they just gave him a gas station and put him on his way.
-and to some extent, duke took it for granted.
you know, ‘oh, that’s duke.’
You know, no one ever stepped up to really give him the prestige and place in our society that he had earned.
-your lovely wife, nadine kahanamoku.
-In 1940, Duke married Nadine Alexander, a professional dancer of Australian descent who was unprepared for the public disapproval of their relationship.
duke responded to negativity the way he always had: mahape a ale wala’au.
‘don’t talk. keep it in your heart.
-you talk about duke’s temperament, you know, and that he was a very kind and humble person.
the only downside to that was something his wife, nadine, mentioned, that duke internalized the whole thing.
kept everything bottled up inside.
said: ‘I’m not going to respond to jokes, or if someone makes fun of me, I’ll make them feel better’.
Unfortunately, that may have affected his health later in life, which suppressed his emotions and, in a sense, maybe he didn’t have to share exactly what he was feeling.
-but because of who he was, duke had left an unforgettable impression on everyone.
And soon, the waves of aloha came full circle as friends emerged to come to their aid, starting in what seemed like an unlikely place.
-stabilizers stepped up and to their credit, there were times when they were duke’s biggest supporters.
-duke kahanamoku was one of the club’s greatest leaders as a member, someone we all look up to.
-duke became an icon in the outrigger canoe club.
We have a room at the back of the stabilizer called the Duke’s room, and it’s dedicated to Duke and his memory.
-it’s a complicated relationship.
people would be upset if that was the only way to support duke.
-what ended up happening, hawaii came to his rescue and chose this man sheriff of honolulu.
He served as bailiff for years because people kept electing him.
-but then, the unthinkable.
[ explosions ] ♪♪ -yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.
♪♪ -duke put hawaii on the map, and then everything changed as soon as pearl harbor and the war came.
-hawaii was under martial law for three and a half years, which is unprecedented in the history of the united states.
♪♪ – barbed wire bordered the beaches.
Internment camps dotted the islands.
the world was at war.
and for three years, the duke of hawaii knew how to close.
-the beach boys, before the second world war, there was a lot of aloha, there was a lot of love.
after pearl harbor, the atmosphere in waikiki was probably a little more tense, as far as feeling good about helping people.
-three years isolated from the rest of the world.
no surfing, no beach boys.
the hawaii duke had worked all his life to preserve and share with the world was not the same.
but the war ended and the duke, a celebrity among celebrities, attracted the elite from all over the world to his home.
-many movie stars and celebrities came to the Hawaiian Islands and advertised.
-many people came to hawaii just for him.
right? that’s – that’s saying a lot.
-kings, queens, royalty.
-Duke, giving a hula lesson to the queen mother of England.
-That’s right. -How did she do?
-very – she was – akamai, we call it.
-he was the celebrity among celebrities.
-actors and actresses, and everyone is always magnetized towards duke.
-the hawaii tourist board and chamber of commerce are saying, ‘this is great advertising.’
Duke became the greeter for celebrities arriving in the Hawaiian Islands.
-in 1960, hawaii formalized what duke has been doing since 1912.
swearing him in as the official ambassador of aloha.
and while working to bring life back to the hawaii surf scene, worldwide, it caught fire.
[the beach boys’ ‘surfin’ usa’ works] -♪ surfin u.s.a. ♪ ♪♪ -post-war surfing starts to take off.
It is not only the sport of surfing but also the culture of surfing.
It’s about music, it’s about fashion, it’s about attitude, and duke is the original.
-it was a whole subculture.
aloha is what duke had, what duke kahanamoku stood for.
duke worked hard to spread the joy of biking and surf culture, which is like, ‘i’m happy to be a part of that.’
♪♪ -as surfing grew in popularity, so did the opportunities for duke to finally achieve a little financial security.
Entrepreneur and talent manager Kimo McVay teamed up with Duke to capitalize on his newfound global popularity.
♪♪ -♪ duke kahanamoku ♪ ♪♪ -when he met kimo mcvay, they licensed clothes, they licensed duke kahanamoku skateboards, they licensed duke kahanamoku surfboards.
There was a restaurant and a nightclub called Duke Kahanamoku’s.
-and formed a surf team, put joey cabell, paul strauch, butch van artsdalen and me on the team.
-You’ve chosen these guys to be your protégés, haven’t you?
-yes bob, and i wanted these guys to set an example of how to be gentlemen.
-‘duke kahanamoku’s world of surfing.’
-hello, surfers. hi
-duke’s invitation was broadcast nationally on abc’s ‘wide world of sports’, and he created the competition, hoping it would help him fulfill his dream of one day seeing surfing in the olympics.
-it was in honor of the duke.
abc ‘wide world of sports’ and the duke contest had a lot to do with the consciousness of people in the middle of kansas or on the east coast or in other parts of the world.
Here’s Eddie Aikau, another young Hawaiian surfer.
also, the first time for eddie.
this is duke kahanamoku, great swimming champion and father of modern surfing.
-once again, duke was relevant, but for a new generation.
Although in his 70’s, the godfather of surfing was in demand around the world, traveling the world, this johnny appleseed of surfing witnessed the fruit of his goodwill visits decades earlier.
♪♪ -duke kahanamoku, from hawaii, who introduced surfing to australia… -the first thing he did was go back to fresh water, he met isabel letham again, he met claude west again, and he found his surfboard.
-we talked about duke being that johnny appleseed figure.
in a sense, that board you leave in australia becomes an important symbol for some of australia’s top surfers.
-…on a beach near sydney, australia… -for the next 30 or 40 years, whenever they had a competition, people referred to it as a duke board competition.
-duke is definitely like the root of everything.
as a surfer, if you live in australia, california, anywhere in the world, it all comes back and at some point it comes to duke.
-was it more exciting for you to win those olympic games or ride some of those giant waves?
-both were pretty exciting.
but I think this surfing is, for me, the greatest emotion of my life.
♪♪ -when you do something that is so magical and amazing and has such a profound effect on your soul, you want to share it with people.
-and then, on February 20, 1959.
duke was asked to fly to los angeles to help with a travelogue about hawaii.
but it was a trick.
-this is your life.
-there, on a hollywood soundstage in front of the nation, the story of one of america’s greatest icons would be told, and duke kahanamoku would finally become a star.
[cheers and applause] -we’re here in hollywood to help congratulate… ♪♪ -george ‘daddy’ center, world famous swim coach.
-well, there’s another skill that duke is also pretty good at, and you shouldn’t overlook it.
♪♪ -johnny weissmuller!
♪♪ ♪♪ -Duke was the stoic and grateful Hawaiian man everyone was hoping to see, until Hollywood brought a surprise that Duke and everyone who knew him would never forget.
-but let’s go back to June 14, 1925, the day it capsized.
You alone were responsible for saving the lives of 8 of the 17 people on board and whom you have not seen since.
here are three of the men you actually saved that fateful day, from riverside, california.
here’s fred hock, everybody, and harry ohlin, and edward sneed, from colton, california. -oh!
♪♪ -duke, I haven’t seen you since you put me on the beach.
♪♪ and I’ve waited 32 years to thank you tonight.
-that’s a long time.
♪♪ -the highly publicized rescue wasn’t the only time duke rescued others.
His life in and around the water and his reluctance to take credit make it impossible to know how many Duke saved.
I would never say.
but those he saved he never forgot.
-yes. -It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him.
and I want to thank you again for rescuing me and saving my life.
-I think that’s when the lifeguards branched out from the coast guard to actually have lifeguards.
-when duke fought and rescued those eight people with his board, california immediately adopted the rescue board and it began to be used on every beach where lifeguards were stationed in california.
♪♪ -if a shining example of a true sportsman lives anywhere in the world, he lives in your heart.
This is your life, Duke Kahanamoku, world champion athlete, a living legend whose love for the people represents the true spirit of your beloved island.
♪♪ ♪♪ [waves crashing] -good morning.
I’m arthur godfrey.
Today, Hawaii lost its most famous citizen, the world, one of its greatest athletes, the United States, one of its greatest citizens of all time.
[woman singing in Hawaiian] ♪♪ -when we heard the news, it was, ‘no, it can’t be happening. no, not paoa uncle.
he is – he is the – he is the pillar and strength of our family.
it can’t be. he’s not ready to go yet.
-On January 22, 1968, Duke Kahanamoku suffered a heart attack and passed away while preparing to go sailing with friends.
I was 77 years old.
In the next week, waikiki would host a funeral like never before or since.
-it was difficult to understand the idea that he was actually going to leave and that we were no longer going to see him or be able to be with him.
-♪ aloha oe ♪ -arthur godfrey, nationally renowned hall of fame radio host, who had become good friends with duke, flew to waikiki so he could broadcast duke’s funeral to the nation.
-never seen so many people in waikiki.
There must be at least 8,000 or 10,000 crowded on the beach.
and, oddly enough, you can almost hear a pin drop.
-♪ i ka lipo ♪ -I remember looking at the hotels and seeing crowds of people.
and it was amazing to see so many people celebrate or acknowledge him that way.
and I’ve never seen anything like it.
-♪ until we meet again ♪ ♪♪ -it was the end of an era that had seen the fall of the Hawaiian kingdom and the rise of its people, guided by the gentle hand of a man who exemplified the attributes of Hawaii .
arthur godfrey, speaking at the duke’s funeral, pleaded with hawaii to honor the duke.
-how cruelly we sometimes forget our pioneering heroes.
forever, her great spirit will ride every wave until she reaches moana, standing there, tanned and beautiful, arms outstretched.
let’s build that monument to the eternal memory of the great ali’i who gave stature and glory to hawaii nei.
-then, in 1990, a statue was finally unveiled.
standing on waikiki beach is a statue that is almost as synonymous with hawaii today as the duke himself.
and this would not be the only monument.
four years later, australia would place a statue of duke overlooking the historic freshwater beach where duke stunned the nation.
another statue is located in the surfers hall of fame in huntington beach, california.
and in new zealand, there is a monument to duke where he first surfed on the south island.
and finally, in 2016, the international olympic committee announced that the sport would now fulfill its greatest dream, as surfing was officially added to the summer olympic games.
-hearing that duke wanted to surf in the olympics, I think duke should be our mantra.
let’s show what it is.
let’s make him proud in a way that makes people say, ‘wow. surfing is cooler than any other sport in the world’, you know? because it is
♪♪ -from a very young age, before the world knew him, the duke’s stature, presence and athleticism earned him comparisons to king kamehameha.
some even attached a prophecy to the duke that the king supposedly spoke on his deathbed.
Although there is disagreement as to whether the king actually said it, it’s no wonder many Hawaiians think of the duke when they hear these words.
-no american athlete has influenced two sports as profoundly as duke kahanamoku.
-they are honoring it in other countries.
-the freshwater beach started having duke’s day events every year and got bigger and bigger.
-really something very special.
-and the duke’s spirit lives on in new brighton.
our duke festival is new zealand’s largest surf contest.
duke got us a way of life and we didn’t even realize it.
-it would be nice if everyone could live their lifestyle.
-not only the last man in the water, but also who he was as a person.
-there are true heroes in the world, and he was one of them.
-Awards scholarships and grants to children that perpetuate the Duke legacy.
-He has done a lot for our sport.
is definitely far from being forgotten.
-duke is – he is there.
♪♪ -for us, he is the king of surfing.
I think that more than anyone in history, duke represents what surfing is.
-and we can get into wakeboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding.
-You can’t talk about extreme sports without knowing that the lineage comes from surfing.
[ waves crashing ] -duke achieved what seemed impossible.
a boy from the beach, while facing the worst the world could throw at him, quietly changed the world.
if you asked duke how he did that, he would say he did it with the power of a word.
♪♪ ♪♪ -just to explain what this is, that we’re in the stabilizer club.
duke, just for fun, singing this song.
I don’t know who wrote it, duke. who wrote it?
-it’s called ‘duke kahanamoku’.
♪♪ ♪ duke kahanamoku ♪ ♪ the pride of all hawaii ♪ ♪ surfing on a nalu ♪ ♪ appearing as a manu ♪ ♪ would you think a minute ♪ ♪ wearing a feather garment ♪ ♪ oi’a no’e ka ‘oi ♪ ♪ king kamehameha ♪ ♪ conquered the group of islands ♪ ♪ duke kahanamoku ♪ ♪ just conquered all the waters ♪ ♪ then became the king of swimmers ♪ ♪ duke kahanamoku ♪ ♪ the pride of all hawaii ♪ ♪ surfing on a nalu ♪ ♪ appearing as a manu ♪ ♪ would you think for a moment ♪ ♪ he was wearing a feather garment ♪ ♪ oi’a no’e ka’oi ♪ ♪ oi’a no’e ka’oi ♪ -wonderful. -very good.
that’s a good tune.
-♪ ‘oiwi e ♪ -♪ ‘oiwi e ♪ ♪ e kahea ana e na ‘iwi e ♪ -♪ ua ‘ike mai nei ♪ -♪ ua ‘ike mai nei i ku’u one hanau e ♪ -♪ eia mai la ♪ -♪ eia mai, na kupa’aina o hawai’i nei ♪ -♪ kako’o mai nei ♪ -♪ kako’o mai nei, kupa’a lokahi e ♪ -♪ ‘e kikilo e na iwi! ‘ ♪ -♪ kikilo e na iwi, e na mamo e ♪ ♪ na kini makamaka e ♪ -♪ ‘e kupa’a ke kanaka’ ♪ -♪ kupa’a ke kanaka hanohano ha’aheo e ♪ -♪ ku ke kanaka ♪ – ♪ kupa’a ke kanaka hanohano ha’aheo e ♪ -♪ kahi lua kolu ha! ♪ kia or hello!