Duke Kahanamoku Statue
2424 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii
The memory of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, the “father of modern surfing” will forever live on in Hawaiian legend, and this bronze statue in Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach stands as a testament to this icon’s immense cultural significance among islanders, young and old. For his record-breaking freestyle swimming, he took home multiple Olympic medals—three gold and two silver between 1912 and 1924. He is most beloved, however, for his surfing skills and for popularizing surfing in the U.S. and Australia through his appearances in several Hollywood movies. He’s also a hero in the true sense of the word, as he rescued eight men from drowning when their fishing boat capsized off the harbor in Newport Beach, California making trips back and forth from the shore on his surfboard. According to Newport Beach police, Duke’s feat was "the most superhuman surfboard rescue act the world has ever seen."