The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Our mission is to financially support the development of individuals and organizations that perpetuate the spirit and legacy of Duke Kahanamoku. ODKF provides support to Hawaii students, teams, and events that sustain the spirit of Duke Kahanamoku. As of 2021, the Foundation has awarded 806 grants and 1041 scholarships totaling over $3 million in community investment. We focus on impacts made through the sports Duke played and loved: Swimming, Surfing, Canoe Paddling, Kayaking, Diving, Water Polo, Sailing, and Volleyball.
The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation began in 1986 when the Duke Kahanamoku Foundation merged with the Outrigger Foundation, which had been founded by members of the Outrigger Canoe Club. The Outrigger Canoe Club - where Duke was a longtime member - still plays an important role by hosting ODKF board meetings and special events. While the ODKF charter specifies that two-thirds of board members also belong to the Outrigger Canoe Club, ODKF scholarships and grants are awarded across the state, without consideration of membership.
ODKF initiated Duke’s OceanFest in the summer of 2002, to celebrate the issuance of a commemorative stamp of Duke Kahanamoku by the U.S. Postal Service. Almost two decades later, Duke’s OceanFest has grown into a weeklong celebration of Duke’s Sports, encouraging waterman and beachgoers of all skill levels and origins to compete with aloha spirit on the shores of Waikiki. Activities include surfing competitions for teens, amateurs, pros, tandems, the physically challenged and animals; a Wounded Warrior canoe regatta; stand-up paddling; a one-mile ocean swim; surfboard water polo; beach volleyball; various entertainment; and a sunrise lei ceremony at Duke Kahanamoku’s statue. The event coincides with Duke’s birthday, August 24th, 1890. Duke’s OceanFest became so popular that it developed its own Board of Directors and now operates as a sub-entity of ODKF. Every year Duke’s OceanFest donates part of its proceeds back to the Foundation.
In 2008, the ODKF Board of Directors founded the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame, inducting legendary athletes with strong Hawaii connections who excel in water and beach sports, and who have left their sports and their community in a better place than before. As Hawaii has no professional sports teams, our modern youth now have very few local, culturally connected professional athletes in the media to look up to. ODKF created the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame event as an answer to that need. We may not have an NBA nor an NFL home team, but we do have a superlative waterman and ocean culture, with incredible role model stories to tell. For more information, visit our Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame page.
In 2019, ODKF hosted the first Duke’s Night, a community celebration of our young scholarship recipients. Our intention is that the kids leave Duke’s Night feeling truly valued by our community. We want them to know that we recognize their potential and that we want them to return to Hawaii after college as our future leaders. We also hope that the media recognition will increase the public’s awareness of our scholarship program, helping us to recruit more scholars, and helping our scholars stand out in their college applications and to unlock future opportunities for them in Hawaii. For more information, visit our Scholarship page.