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The Duke

Richard Podgurski Jr.


Behind the Shot

If you spend time on the Hawaiian Islands, you’re bound to see vintage surfing photographs. They can be spotted on walls anywhere from restaurants and bars to hotels and shops. They are woven into the rich history and culture of Hawaii, the birthplace of surfing. Photographer Richard Podgurski Jr. will tell you that those images are also integral to his personal story and are a huge inspiration behind his work.

Taken one peaceful morning on Waikiki Beach, this print is an homage to the retro photos hanging all over Hawaiian walls and to “the Duke” himself. Duke Kahanamoku was a Hawaiian Olympic medalist swimmer and pioneer surfer who frequently appears in those classic photos. Nothing symbolizes Hawaiian surf culture quite like the Duke.

The few surfers in the water that day reminded Richard of the images that inspired him. No crowds, smartphones or distractions in sight—only sun, water and surf. We think the Duke would approve.