Duke's Big Contest

The Duke Invitational became the sport's most prestigious event. A small, hand-picked field of surfers in a one-day battle at Sunset Beach. No small-wave grubbing here. You didn't win at Sunset with head-dips, or spinners, or any other tricks.

The surf media came out in force to witness and record the debut 1965 Duke Kahanamoku Invitational, the last and probably noblest commercial use to which the aging Olympian put his name. Honolulu promoter Kimo McVay was the driving force behind the event. McVay had been Kahanamoku’s manager since 1961. He opened the popular Duke Kahanamoku’s nightclub in Waikiki—where singer Don Ho, five nights a ...

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