BEST VIEWED LARGER
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."