Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BEACH WEEK - Surfer of the Century

TITLE: Surfer of the Century

AUTHOR: Ellie Crowe

WHO WAS AT THE BEACH? Duke Kahanamohi, a beachboy turned Olympian.

WHAT BEACH AND WHEN? Duke spent most of his time at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii perfecting his surfing and swimming in the early 20th century.

WHAT HAPPENED? When a local lawyer with an interest in swimming noticed how fast Duke cut through the water, he got involved in getting Duke into competitive races. Duke eventually won his first gold medal in Stockholm, Sweden in the 1912 Olympics. His interesting life included breaking many swimming records, along with some color barriers, a friendship with fellow Olympian and native American, Jim Thorpe and winning several Olympic medals for the U.S.A. team. He also developed the flutter kick, helped coach the Australian Olympic swim team, built his own surf boards, introduced surfing to Australia and the mainland of America, surfed for nearly two miles on a monster wave that was 30 feet high, acted in a couple of Hollywood movies, rescued eight people from a sinking boat via his surfboard, and served as sheriff of Honolulu. No wonder this guy is considered a legend!

Surfer of the Century is a beautifully illustrated tribute to Duke Kahanamohi.

Ages 9-12

Activity: How fast can you swim the 100 meter freestyle? Duke’s fastest race time is recorded at 60.4 seconds. Can you beat that?


  1. Hi Jill - what a good idea for a website! -- I'm looking forward to exploring the centuries and thank you for including Duke -- aloha ... Ellie Crowe

  2. Hello Ellie. It is always such an honor to have the author comment on my blog! Thanks for stopping by. And by the way, your new book, titled Hardcore Inventing, looks very interesting. I'll be hunting down a copy for sure.

  3. I am so glad to see you back. I am a literature person with "a bad case of latent history interest" (to quote you) so I have really enjoyed reading through your posts.

  4. Thank you for the nice comment Alex. I'm glad to know you're reading my blog.