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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 19, 2001

Kahanamoku stamp surfs closer to reality

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Duke Kahanamoku, the most famous surfer in history, may finally appear on a U.S. postage stamp next year.

Past efforts for a Duke Kahanamoku stamp have failed.

Advertiser library photo

After pushing the idea for years, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, learned this month that the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee has included Kahanamoku in its final selection for 2002.

The remaining step is approval by the postmaster general. The request is not expected to flounder this time, after several rejections in the 1990s. The final announcement will be in the fall.

Kahanamoku was a 1912 Olympic gold medal swimmer credited with introducing the world to surfing.

"Senator Akaka said he was delighted," spokesman Paul Cardus said. "... He is fairly optimistic that people will be able to purchase stamps of Duke Kahanamoku. But we are still cautious because the official stamp of approval must come later this year."

The citizen's advisory panel reviews tens of thousands of proposals each year. Only a fraction are chosen, balanced to represent the 50 states, culture, history and the environment, among other topics, Cardus said.

Akaka has spoken often to postal service officials about creating a Duke stamp, Cardus said. The idea was last considered in 1999.

Mike Gordon can be reached at mgordon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8012.