Duke’s OceanFest in Waikiki honors the legendary Duke Kahanamoku

By Olena Heu

Photo: Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Held every year in conjunction with Duke Paoa Kahanamoku’s birthday, Duke’s OceanFest is noted as Waikiki’s premier ocean sports weeklong event to commemorate the legendary Hawaiian waterman, Olympic champion and ambassador of aloha. Known for his impeccable athleticism, spirit of camaraderie and world-class hospitality, Duke Kahanamoku is also regarded as the father of modern-day surfing. To pay homage to his legacy, Duke’s OceanFest hosts numerous sporting events along Waikiki beach each August.

Photo: Duke’s OceanFest

Duke’s OceanFest began in 2002 and has grown to include a series of friendly competitions from canoe paddling, wounded warrior surfing, legendary surfboard water polo, impressive tandem surfing and beach volleyball. Island children and their families enjoy friendly surfing competitions, and four-legged friends also take to the waves for the SurFUR ComPETition, which has also included a duck, cat and champion surfing pig in past years.

Photo: Duke’s OceanFest

The weeklong celebration — which serves as a fundraiser for student-athlete scholarships and benefits the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation — begins with the Wounded Warrior Regatta each year, then moves along to the Menehune and Kokua surfing competitions for kids. The contests that follow thereafter include a Blue Water SUP race, Ocean-Mile swim, Longboard Classic competitions for locals and international surfers, Surf Foiling exhibitions and the historic Alaia Surfing demonstration on wooden boards.

Friends and visitors are all welcome to enjoy the special opening ceremony, free movie nights and the Sunrise Lei Draping on Duke’s birthday, held every year on August 24th fronting the Duke Kahanamoku statue. The event wraps up with an entertaining Red Bull Party Wave Competition, where water enthusiasts and surfers build their own watercraft and attempt to surf the waves of Waikiki in costume.

For the latest schedule details, visit the Duke’s OceanFest calendar.

All athletic events are free and open to public spectators. For more information visit www.dukesoceanfest.com

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