Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku grew up in the Waikiki area on Oahu where he developed his love and talent for the water. In 1911, Duke was timed at 55.4 seconds in the 100 yard freestyle swim, beating the existing world record by 4.6 seconds in the salt water of the Honolulu Harbor.

Duke was born on August 24, 1890 in Honolulu Hawaii. He is widely credited with spreading the sport of surfing. Duke was born before Hawai'i became a state, and lived well into statehood as a US citizen. Duke was a five time Olympic medalist in swimming, was an actor, a lawman, a beach volleyball player and a businessman.

Duke had five brothers and three sisters, and was named after his father who was a policeman. He died of a heart attack on January 22, 1968 at the age of 77. His ashes were scattered into the ocean.