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Smithsonian Receives Duke Kahanamoku Surfboard; Luau Ensues

A surfboard shaped by Duke Kahanamoku is one of several bits of surfing history that will enter the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
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Five historically significant surfboards, including one shaped by Duke Kahanamoku, are on their way to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Kahanamoku, who was born in 1890, was the first global ambassador for the sport of surfing. He was also a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and later went to Hollywood, appearing in over 15 films.

The surfboard that will be placed in the Smithsonian was shaped by Kahanamoku on Corona del Mar Beach, in Orange County, California, in 1928, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The donation, from the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) in San Clemente, California, is a key component of a Hawaiian-flavored weekend running August 21-24 in the nation's capital. On August 21, the SHACC will host its first-ever National Luau at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. On August 22, the surfboards (as well as an original print of the 1966 documentary The Endless Summer) will be received at the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for the Study of Innovation and Invention.

"Having one of Duke Kahanamoku's boards enshrined forever at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History along with The Endless Summer film and other boards gives me great satisfaction and assures that future generations will understand the importance of surfing culture in American History," Paul Strauch, executive director of SHACC, told Surfer Today.

On Monday, August 24, the National Museum of the American Indian will host a celebration of Duke Kahanamoku's 125th birthday.