Catch a Wave

July 1, 2014 | By Jason Black

Duke’s OceanFest celebrates a variety of ocean sports, from surfing and paddling to swimming—all while sharing aloha.

“In Hawai‘i, we greet friends, loved ones or strangers with ‘aloha,’ which means with love. Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality, which makes Hawai‘i renowned as the world’s center for understanding and fellowship. Try meeting or leaving people with aloha. You’ll be surprised by their reaction. I believe it, and it is my creed. Aloha to you.”—Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku (1890–1968)

The annual Duke’s OceanFest is a celebration of two things close to Hawai‘i’s first aloha ambassador’s heart: Ocean sports and sharing heartfelt aloha. Now in its 13th year, this year’s event will be held at various sites throughout Waikiki from Saturday, August 16 to Sunday, August 24. The nine-day event features a variety of ocean sports that Kahanamoku himself enjoyed, such as longboard surfing, paddle-board racing, swimming, surfboard water polo, beach volleyball and, of course, stand-up paddling. There’s even a very popular lu‘au where attending guests can enjoy Hawaiian food, music and meet many of the former legends of local surfing.

Chris Colgate, one of the event’s organizers, had this to say: “We want to promote Duke’s legacy of aloha and help raise funds for the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) and its mission of providing grants and scholarships to student athletes and organizations from Hawai‘i. It’s also a great event that brings locals and visitors together to celebrate Duke’s life and the ocean he loved.”

Residents and visitors who attend can expect to have a good time and experience what Hawaiian sports are all about. “These are the sports that Duke and the Waikiki Beachboys did while spreading aloha in Hawai‘i during the early 1900s,” Colgate says. “Waikiki Beach was where it all happened and where Hawai‘i and its culture were introduced to the world.”

In addition to all the sun, sand and surf, Duke’s OceanFest is a fundraiser for the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, which supports local scholar athletes. Recently, the foundation awarded $150,000 in scholarships and grants to Hawai‘i students.

As Colgate points out, “The ODKF has helped make it possible for hundreds of student athletes to reach their potential and learn the meaning of aloha. Organizations have also benefited with support from the foundation.”

So come out to Waikiki Beach, have some ocean fun, support a great cause and enjoy some authentic aloha. Duke would go.

Learn more about Duke’s OceanFest at and the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation at

Photos: Betty Depolito