Duke Kahanamoku Monument - Freshwater Headland , Sydney Australia by Philip Johnson

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Duke Kahanamoku Monument - Freshwater Headland , Sydney Australia by 


Freshwater Beach will always remember that day in the Southern Summer of 1915 when the great aquatic Hawaiian, Duke Kahanamoku gave an amazing exhibition of wave riding with a solid surfboard modelled on the very type used by him in his native Hawaii. Over a period of time while he stayed at the Boomerang Camp at Freshwater, the Duke fashioned a solid board from the local timbers, and it was with this board that he first introduced to the Australian Surfing community the ancient craft of Hawaiian kings – the art of surfboard riding.

Out through the surf-break “The Duke” paddled, turned around and having paddled onto the face of a breaking wave, caught the wave back into the beach while standing tall on this newly carved timber surfboard. This exhibition of skill and grace captivated the imagination of all those present, and if this were not enough, the Duke selected a young lady from the local crowd – one Miss Isabel Letham – to accompany him on his surfboard. While she lay forward on this surfboard, the Duke paddled out through the surf and then returned to the beach while riding tandem.

’Surf’s up!’ was the cry heard one morning on Oahu’s south shore. Enthusiastic young men grabbed their surfboards and rushed to Waikiki to try to ride the big “Bluebirds,” giant waves that sweep in from Diamond Head and streak across in a solid line as far as Honolulu Harbor. The day closed with only one of those daring surfers defeating the tremendous waves. On his 16-foot, 114-pound surfboard, Duke Kahanamoku successfully challenged the dangerous Bluebird for a thrilling, one-and-three-quarter miles. Exhausted, he dragged his board onto the beach to the sound of cheers and applause from a crowd of admiring spectators on Waikiki Beach."

Philip Johnson is a Photographer located on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Specialising in HDR photography his works have been shown in galleries,published in Tourism campaigns. His work will also be available as Jig Saws through Crown & Andrews

Winner of the Art Unlimited Photography prize 2011

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  • eXposure
    eXposureover 6 years ago

    awesome composition ..
    wonderful capture and info!

  • Kirsten H
    Kirsten Hover 6 years ago

    Sucha an awesome shot!! Great colour and tonnes of info. Well done!

  • naturelover
    natureloverover 6 years ago

    The information with this wonderful capture is great!! thankyou!

    HELUAover 6 years ago

    You never know what you are about to encounter on RB !!! Thanks for this grand lecture!
    Your marvellous image drew me to check this out…thank you, Philip !!!

  • redrosedigital
    redrosedigitalover 6 years ago

    Great image, Philip! I love “The Duke” surfing off the rocks, and of course, the back story is wonderful.

  • Linda Ridpath
    Linda Ridpathover 6 years ago

    your shot does the monument proud. Its a great subject and brilliant photograph

  • Dave Law
    Dave Lawover 6 years ago

    Wonderful image and thanks for the information, very intersting.

  • barnsis
    barnsisover 6 years ago

    Awesome image and great history.

  • Tom Gomez
    Tom Gomezover 6 years ago

    Wonderful shot Philip, great find. A great history lesson too …

  • The Surf Lifesaving Club at Freshwater has his surfboard 16feet long

    – Philip Johnson

  • whitetiger790
    whitetiger790over 6 years ago

    I"ve seen a tv show about that man. Very interesting life he lead. Beautiful pic!!

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