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Surfer of the Century

Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku - Ellie Crowe

APA Citation: 

Crowe, E., & Waldrep, R. (2007). Surfer of the century: The life of Duke Kahanamoku. New York: Lee & Low Books.



Growing up in Honolulu with the Pacific Ocean as his backyard, Duke Kahanamoku learned to swim and surf at a young age. By his early twenties, Duke's lightning-fast swimming won him a place on the 1912 United States Olympic team and a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle race. Over the years Duke struggled with racism and financial troubles, but by the end of his twenty-year Olympic career, he was a six-time medal winner. Although a swimming champion, Duke's passion was surfing. He traveled the world, introducing surfboarding to Australia and the east and west coasts of the United States. Considered the father of modern surfing, Duke spread his love of the ocean and Hawai'i wherever he went. Throughout his life Duke Kahanamoku was beloved for his modesty, sportsmanship, and amazing skill in the water. Today he remains a legendary waterman and an inspiration to all to live life with aloha. aloha: love, kindness, grace, affection, compassion; also traditional Hawaiian greeting or farewell. 


Author Information: 

Ellie Crowe is an award-winning author of some 24 published books. She was born in South Africa and lives in Honolulu, Hawaii and Santa Barbara, California. Her books on the culture and history of Hawaii include Exploring Lost Hawaii, Places of Power, History, Mystery and Magic, Kamehameha, the Boy who became a Warrior King, recipient of the HVCB Kahili Award for Literary Arts in 2004, and Surfer of the Century, the Life of Duke Kahanamoku, recipient of the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Once Upon a World Award in Children's Literature in 2008. Her first book, The Little Princess Kaiulani, is included in a time capsule in the grounds of the Princess Victoria Kaiulani Elementary School, Honolulu.



Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Once Upon a World Award in Children's Literature in 2008.


Target Audience: Grade Level Equivalence 5.9, interest level grades  3-7


Genre: Biography/ Nonfiction


Interest: Sports, Hawaiian culture, overcoming diversity, Olympic sports, surfing, history