Duke's Ocean Fest 2008 Kicks Off - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Duke's Ocean Fest 2008 Kicks Off

Patrick Dugan Patrick Dugan
Dennis Sambrano Dennis Sambrano
Watabiki Mizuho Watabiki Mizuho

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU  (KHNL) - Duke's Ocean Fest will feature fun and exciting water sports competitions. The event remembers Hawaii's six-time Olympic medalist.

Who needs the Olympics when you have the Dukes Ocean Fest. Today at the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon in Waikiki a special canoe delivered a koa paddle in honor of the only Hawaiian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming.

"It will almost be like the Olympic torch at the Olympic games as it moves its way to Beijing this is going to move its way through Ocean Fest," said Patrick Dugan of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation.

As part of the Ho'omana ceremony kicking off the week-long-celebration, standup paddlers who share the same affinity for the ocean helped usher in the canoe carrying the sacred paddle.

For them, just being on the same beach where Duke spent much of his time honing his legendary waterman skills was an honor.

"His passion is something I have. To be on his beach knowing this is his area, it's an experience that is delighting," said Hawaiian Waterman Dennis Sambrano.

Duke's celebrity status reached many shores, earning him the title one of Hawaii's "Ambassadors of Aloha."

'Very famous and a great man, so I respect him," said Visitor Watabiki Mizuho.

Organizers hope the paddle will serve as a reminder to all the athletes of what Duke Kahanamoku represented.

"It's being passed on to each event in the spirit of aloha, the way Duke competed and asking all the competitors to compete hard, but compete with the spirit of aloha," said Dugan.

The weeklong celebration will culminate with the popular Waikiki lei parade and draping of Duke's statue on the 118th anniversary of his birthday.

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