Souvenir real photo postcard of surfing pioneer Duke Kahanamoku, with contemporary annotation.
Original Real Photo Postcard of Duke Kahanamoku
"For many, [surfing] wasn't even a 'sport' [...] Kahanamoku changed this. Through his gracious example, surfing [...] was made accessible." — Matt Warschaw
Taken on Waikiki Beach, this early image (ca. 1912-1915, likely by R.J. Baker or a photographer from the J.J. Williams Studio) of the swimming and surfing legend is one of his most well-known and reproduced — widely sold and reprinted numerous times in various RPPC formats. The contemporary inscription on the verso of this copy ("This is Duke the champion Hawaiian swimmer who won the Olympic swimming race somewhere in Europe. He is standing by his surf board. Think this was taken a few years ago as he is much heavier built now and looks older."), together with its square-cornered Azo stampbox, date this card to about 1927, a few years after his final Olympic medals at the 1924 Paris games. Kahanamoku would parlay his Olympic success into a successful career staging swimming exhibitions around the world, events into which he eventually began incorporating surfing. These demonstrations, coupled with Kahanamoku's appearances in numerous movies and TV shows, were essential in the popularization of the sport outside of Hawaii. An iconic image of one of surfing's pivotal figures.
Read more: Matt Warschaw, The History of Surfing, page 55.
n.p. n.p, [ca. 1927]. 5.5'' x 3.5''. Original real black-and-white real photo postcard. With penciled contemporary annotation to verso. Mild wear overall, touches of toning to edges.
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