In December 1914, Duke Kahanamoku, the world sprint swimming champion, was touring Australia. He selected timber from a Sydney firm to fashion a board modelled on those used in his native Hawaii, and during a demonstration to the press, introduced surf board riding to Australia at Freshwater Beach (This is where I live) on Thursday 24 December. It was the first recorded time that anyone had surfed the clean waves beyond the break in Australian waters using this Hawaiian-style surfing technique.
It was so popular that a second spur of the moment demonstration was given on a Sunday in January 1915. Duke topped the performance by taking a local young girl, Isabel Letham on the board with him to surf the waves. Isabel went on to become a pioneer of Australian surfing. The board has been kept in a display in the Freshwater Surf Club since 1952. There is now a statue of Kahanamoku on the headland at Freshwater.