Surf legend 'Rabbit' Kekai dies at 95 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Surf legend 'Rabbit' Kekai dies at 95

Rabbit Kekai (Image: Shane Peel) Rabbit Kekai (Image: Shane Peel)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Local surfing legend Albert "Rabbit" Kekai, one of the pioneers of modern surfing, died at Leahi Hospital on Friday, family members said.

He was 95.

Kekai is best known as one of the first Waikiki beachboys, and was the last surviving of the group.

In 1991, Kekai was inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame. 

Kekai was born in Waikiki, and began surfing at just 5 years old. He later honed his famed surf and canoe skills from none other than Duke Kahanamoku, and then shared that knowledge with countless people over the years.

He's often been called among the best high-performance surfers of the 1930s and 40s, and won the Makaha International in 1955.

Kekai earned the nickname "Rabbit" for his running, not his surfing, though. He was one of Oahu's fastest runners in high school, according to the Encyclopedia of Surfing.

At a large birthday bash five years ago, Kekai said the secret to his long life was a clean, healthy lifestyle and lots of laughs.

"Ninety years of troubles, good will to everybody -- mostly troubles, that's why they call me 'kolohe' in Hawaiian," Kekai quipped, at the time.

Memorial plans are pending.

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