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The statue and commemorative park are dedicated to Duke Kahanamoku who first demonstrated surfboard riding in 1914. The Park and mosaics are also dedicated to Australians who have held major surfing titles in the 30 years since 1964.

Duke Kahanamoku Park on the Northern Headland of Freshwater Beach became part of the Manly-Freshwater World Surfing Reserve on Saturday, 10 March 2012.

Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (1890 – January 22, 1968) was a Native Hawaiian competition swimmer who popularized the ancient Hawaiian sport of surfing.  He was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming. 

Duke won a gold medal in the 100 metres freestyle in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, and a silver with the relay team. During the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, he won gold medals both in the 100 meters, and in the relay. He finished the 100 meters with a silver medal during the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Between Olympic competitions, and after retiring from the Olympics, Kahanamoku traveled internationally, particularly Australia and the United States, to give swimming exhibitions. It was during this period that he popularized the sport of surfing, previously known only in Hawaii, by incorporating surfing exhibitions into these visits as well.

His surfing exhibition at Sydney`s Freshwater Beach on December 23, 1914 is widely regarded as the most significant day in the development of surfing in Australia. The board Kahanamoku used is retained by the Freshwater Surf Club.

The New South Wales Swimming Association has arranged for a display by Duke Paoa Kahanamoku at Freshwater on Wednesday morning, at 11 o'clock. The famous swimmer will give an exhibition of breaker-shooting and board shooting.
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 22 December 1914.

Those who were privileged to witness the display given by Duke Kahanamoku on the surf board at Freshwater marvelled at the distance the famous Hawaiian swimmer ventured from the shore. The very evident enjoyment he felt drew the remark from his manager, Mr. Francis Evans. "I guess Duke is enjoying this swim. While in a tank he is just like a bird in a cage."

Duke gets all his swimming in Honolulu at the famous Waikiki Beach, where an accommodating coral reef about half a mile from the shore and it is quite a common sight to see him go right out to catch the wave as it breaks over the reef. He has never been at home in the short baths of America although his performance in the small tanks has made his swimming world gape here as in the longer stretches of water. He likes the straight course for the hundred provided at the Domain Baths, and is looking forward in a great go with Barry and Longworth next Saturday. Cuhna, Duke's companion on the other hand is purely a tank swimmer, as those who shine best in a small bath are called in America, and visits the bath every day for his tryout.
Evening News (Sydney ), 29 December 1914.


Address:Lumsdaine Drive, McKillop Park, Freshwater, 2096
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.780463
Long: 151.293689
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Artist:Barry Donohoo


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 26th January, 1994
Source: MA, HNSW
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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