For Freshwater, it all began in 1912. Hawaiian, Duke Kahanamoku and Australian Cecil Healy, met at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Through mutual respect and healthy competition, the young men formed a strong friendship.
Just two years later, in the summer of 1914/15, the legendary Hawaiian, Duke, came to Australia staying with locals at Freshwater Beach’s Boomerang Camp. It was here Duke held the surfing display that inspired generations of Australian surfers and etched Duke into Australian hearts.
Not being able to find a suitable board Duke crafted his own from locally sourced sugar pine. The finless board was 2.6m long and weighing over 42kgs had to be transported by horse and cart to Freshwater Beach. After posing for photos Duke picked up the board and headed out to the surf. The rest they say is history.
On 15 January 2011, 96 years after Duke’s famous demonstration, the inaugural DUKE’S DAY was held on Freshwater Beach.
Co-founders Naomi Wilson and Naomi Donohue (aka the SurfNomes), shared Dukes love of the ocean and desire to live harmoniously within the marine environment as did Dave Thomas from Eco Divers. Together the SurfNomes and Dave co-founded Duke's Day.
DUKE’S DAY was created to honour and celebrate an international sporting icon. A legendary man who shared one of the world’s favourite sports on Freshwater Beach during the summer of 1914-15.
Duke’s Day is a celebration of the evolution of surfing and is much more than getting as many waves as you can. Rather, it’s about the impact Duke had then and retains now within the soul of surfing.
It’s a chance for us to find out a little more about the Aloha spirit that Hawaiians live by including ways to honour and live respectfully, and in harmony with our coastal environment.