It's amazing how many photographs there are of The Duke surfing as a young man, considering how few cameras there were around at the time, and how few people were even aware that surfing existed. It says a lot about how revered he was beyond his home shores and his swimming prowess.
The above shots were taken in Los Angeles in 1920. The background doesn't belie where he is exactly, but it looks beach-breakie. The mansion in the background is palatial!
He would have been 30. He may have been en route to Antwerp, Belgium for the Olympics, but judging by his beard, more likely on the way home. What an insanely long journey back in those times! Ships and trains and ships and more trains. This was the second of three Olympics for him. He even medaled again in 1924, at age 34.
Duke in Antwerp. He won gold in the 100 meters, and gold with his 4 x 200 teammates.
His board is really interesting. When you compare the outline to the planks that were used during that era, it's incredibly sophisticated. There's a nice curve to the outline, and the wide point is somewhere around in the middle...so it would have had some maneuverability. The nose is full but moderate. The tail curve is straight enough to track and hold in without a fin. (Kind of like a stretched fish outline.) Presumably, the bottom was round and the deck was flat, as that was the norm.
The more time passes, the more awesome Duke Kahanamoku becomes.