The annual Duke’s OceanFest, held on the shores of Waikiki in August of each year, celebrates Duke Kahanamoku’s life, his athletic contributions and his spirit that continues to live on throughout the Hawaiian Islands and abroad. Duke’s OceanFest features a variety of lifestyle sports disciplines close to Duke Kahanamoku’s heart, including Surfing, Paddleboard Racing, Swimming, Tandem Surfing, Surf Polo, Keiki (child) Surfing, and Beach Volleyball.
Duke’s OceanFest is a non-profit organization whose mission, on behalf of the entire Hawaiian Islands Community, is to share Duke’s celebrated life and excellence, as well as provide resources to organizations such as ODKF, to enrich the lives of Hawaii’s youth with scholarships and grants.
FUN FACT: The Kahanamoku family actually surfed with their pet dogs!
The GOING TO THE DOGS SURFUR COMPETITION (GTDSC) is a unique event that showcases the bond between human and pet and their mutual love of the water. All species and abilities are welcome, but all animals must surf with their own humans/handlers and have experience in open ocean surf.
Each year the competition grows in popularity and size. The first year, 3 dogs and a pig competed; 2016 had a pig, a cat and 13 dogs surfing, and 2017 even had a surfing DUCK! Last year’s competition, 2022, had 25 dogs competing for the title of Champion SURFUR! For more fun images and videos, please visit SURFDOGSHAWAII on Instagram.
In 2015, Duke’s OceanFest recruited dog lover and surfer Kelli Bullock Hergert to volunteer and help organize the first ever Dog Surfing Competition in Hawai’i. There may have only been 3 dogs and a pig competing, but fun was had by all, and the crowd loved it!
Kelli is now a board member of Duke’s OceanFest. She is a professional photographer and small business owner (www.kelliwithaneyephotography.com). Kelli volunteers with the Hawaiian Humane Society, Girl Scouts of Hawaii, and other charities, while helping to find senior pets homes in Hawai’i via her Instagram feed @Kupunak9s.
Along with her husband Matt, rescue dog Alfie, and 3 cats (Ginger, MiuMiu and Kasper), she resides in Honolulu, and enjoys hiking, surfing and time with friends.