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Your Ultimate Guide to Duke’s OceanFest 2019

Celebrate your love for the ocean with surfing dogs, surfboards floating 2 feet above the water and a one-man show dedicated to Duke’s life.


Photo: surfpix.com


What it is

In its 18th year, Duke’s OceanFest honors Kahanamoku’s spirit and life as a natural waterman. He first became famous for breaking world records and winning Olympic gold medals for short-distance swimming and later co-founded one of the world’s first surfing organizations.


The annual OceanFest is held the week of his birthday, with competitions, showcases and events to benefit local student athletes.


Where and When

This year’s OceanFest takes place Aug. 17 to 25, with multiple daily events, mostly at Kūhīo Beach and Queen’s Surf Beach in Waikīkī.


Photo: surfpix.com


Where to Park

Duke’s OceanFest doesn’t provide designated parking, so take a look at HONOLULU Magazine’s Waikīkī Parking Guide before you go.


How Much it Costs

All sporting events are free to watch, and two ticketed events support the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, which awards scholarships and grants to student athletes.


The Waterman Hall of Fame induction ceremony induction ceremony will be Aug. 22 at the Outrigger Canoe Club. Tickets are $125 and include a buffet meal and two drinks.


The other fundraiser is the Great Hawaiian Legends Lūʻau at the Waikīkī Aquarium on Aug. 24. For $65, enjoy a Hawaiian buffet by Laverne’s and entertainment from hālau ​kāne hula Kawai‘ulaokala; Ei Nei, a Hawaiian string trio; and slack-key guitarist Bobby Moderow Jr.


kids surfing

Photo: David Croxford


What to Watch

Duke’s OceanFest features daily events, representing all of the sports that Duke loved, plus a one-man show, free movies and other events dedicated to his life. Here are some highlights:


On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Matson Menehune kids surfing competition kicks off and continues through Sunday. At the same time, the Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta will race—about 100 teams in all—at Fort DeRussy Beach.


The festival’s opening ceremony starts at 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 with hula, Hawaiian music and the festival’s traditional lei-draping at Duke’s statue. Duke’s Waikīkī Ocean Mile Swim also happens that morning, with hundreds of swimmers from all over the world.



You won’t believe your eyes at the Surf Foiling Expression Session on Monday, Aug. 19, when surfers on hydrofoil boards will seemingly hover 2 feet above the water.


Don’t miss the popular Going to the Dogs SurFUR ComPETition on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Awards go to the best dog surfer and the best dog-owner duo.


On the evening of Friday Aug. 23, under the stars at Duke’s statute, watch Moses Goods’ one-man show, Duke, chronicling Duke’s life.


Photo: Courtesy of Red Bull


One of the last events of the festival is the Red Bull Party Wave on Sunday, Aug. 25. Teams of three to six will perform skits, then paddle out in homemade vessels and surf back to shore. Skip the coffee before this 10 a.m. comedy-surf competition—organizers will give out free Red Bull to anyone who stops by.


If your favorite ocean sport isn’t listed here, see the full schedule at dukesoceanfest.com



  • The OceanFest happens at, well, the ocean. Bring everything you need to be at the beach, whether that be heaps of (reef safe) sunscreen, a hat or a chair to sit on.

  • Organizers won’t sell food at the events, so make a picnic of it or be prepared to eat at a restaurant nearby. And make sure to bring a filled reusable water bottle.


For more information, visit dukesoceanfest.com



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