Hawaii Waterman
Hall of Fame

George "Dad" Center

George "Dad" Center

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Everyone needs a “Dad” and George David Center filled the role perfectly for Hawaii ocean sports. An accomplished athlete, coach, leader, and, most significantly, mentor, to young watermen and waterwomen, the contributions he made to ocean sports decades ago still resonate today. Affectionately known as “Dad” to all he coached, Center was selfless in giving of his time to help Hawaii’s athletes be their best in swimming, surfing, paddling, volleyball, and track. A highlight was coaching Duke Kahanamoku and the U.S. Swim Team at the 1920 Olympics, guiding the U.S. to an excellent showing, including Duke’s winning of gold in the 100-meter freestyle. Dad always promoted sportsmanship and team spirit. That was most evident by his nurturing of athletic programs for women and keiki – this during an era when men dominated ocean sports. Today, the annual Dad Center Race is a premier outrigger canoe race – for women – that honors his commitment to sports for everyone.

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