Duke Kahanamoku Biography: Death, Wife, Height, Descendants, Olympics, Foundation

Duke Kahanamoku Biography – Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku, widely known as Duke Kahanamoku, was a remarkable figure in the world of sports, especially known for his contributions to swimming and surfing. Born on August 24, 1890, in Honolulu, Hawaii, he lived through the significant political change of Hawaii’s annexation by the United States and became a symbol of Hawaiian culture and athletic prowess. His legacy extends beyond his Olympic achievements, impacting the worlds of surfing and Hawaiian heritage.

Duke Kahanamoku Education And Early Life

Duke Kahanamoku was born to a minor noble family, just a few years before the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. His early education included attending Old Waikiki School, Ka`ahumanu School, Kamehameha School for Boys, and McKinley High School. Despite his formal schooling, Duke’s true education came from the ocean. The waters of Waikiki Beach served as his classroom, where he excelled in swimming and surfing, graduating cum laude from this unique “outdoor school” well before reaching adulthood.

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Duke Kahanamoku Olympic Success and Sports Achievements

Duke Kahanamoku’s prowess in the water led him to the Olympics, where he became a five-time medalist. He won medals in the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Olympics, solidifying his place as a top athlete in swimming. His Olympic success brought him international fame, and he used this platform to introduce the sport of surfing to the world. Duke is often credited with popularizing surfing beyond Hawaii, demonstrating its beauty and skill to audiences worldwide.

Duke Kahanamoku Height – Personal Life

Standing at an impressive 6 feet 1 inch (185 cm), Duke Kahanamoku had a commanding presence both in and out of the water. His personal life was marked by his marriage to Nadine Alexander. Despite his fame, Duke remained deeply connected to his Hawaiian roots and his family.

Duke Kahanamoku Descendants and Heritage

Duke Kahanamoku’s lineage is rich with Hawaiian heritage. His paternal grandfather was Kahanamoku, and his grandmother, Kapiolani Kaoeha, was a descendant of Alapainui. This noble lineage contributed to Duke’s deep sense of identity and pride in his Hawaiian culture, which he carried with him throughout his life and career.

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Later Years and Duke Kahanamoku Death

Duke Kahanamoku lived a full and impactful life until his death on January 22, 1968, in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the age of 77. His passing marked the end of an era, but his legacy continued through his contributions to sports and Hawaiian culture.

Duke Kahanamoku Foundation

In honor of his legacy, the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation was established to support the development of water sports and to preserve Hawaiian culture. The foundation provides scholarships and grants to young athletes, ensuring that Duke’s passion for the ocean and sportsmanship continues to inspire future generations.


1. Who was Duke Kahanamoku? Duke Kahanamoku was a Hawaiian swimmer and surfer, known for his Olympic achievements and for popularizing the sport of surfing globally.

2. How tall was Duke Kahanamoku? Duke Kahanamoku was 6 feet 1 inch (185 cm) tall.

3. Who was Duke Kahanamoku’s wife? Duke Kahanamoku was married to Nadine Alexander.

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4. What were Duke Kahanamoku’s achievements in the Olympics? Duke Kahanamoku won five Olympic medals in swimming, competing in the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Olympics.

5. What is the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation? The Duke Kahanamoku Foundation supports the development of water sports and Hawaiian culture, providing scholarships and grants to young athletes.

6. Where is Duke Kahanamoku Beach? Duke Kahanamoku Beach is part of Waikiki Beach, located in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.


Duke Kahanamoku’s legacy is one of athletic excellence and cultural pride. His contributions to swimming and surfing, along with his promotion of Hawaiian heritage, have left an indelible mark on the world. Through his achievements and the ongoing work of the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, his spirit continues to inspire and uplift athletes and cultural enthusiasts alike.

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