Freshwater Heritage And Surfing History
Freshwater has a rich beach culture stretching over 100 years.
In December 1914, Duke Kahanamoku, the world sprint swimming champion, was touring Australia. He selected timber from a Sydney firm to fashion a board modelled on those used in his native Hawaii, and during a demonstration to the press, introduced surf board riding to Australia at Freshwater Beach on Thursday 24 December. It was the first recorded time that anyone had surfed the clean waves beyond the break in Australian waters using this Hawaiian-style surfing technique.
It was so popular that a second spur of the moment demonstration was given on a Sunday in January 1915. Duke topped the performance by taking a local young girl, Isabel Letham on the board with him to surf the waves. Isabel went on to become a pioneer of Australian surfing. The board has been kept on display in the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club since 1952. There is now a statue of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku on the headland at Freshwater. The statue was sculpted by artist Barry Donohoo, one of the last works by the artist before his death.
Take a stroll with us and we will show you our iconic historic landmarks and the suburb's surfing history and other interesting historical facts.
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