Duke’s Waikiki honored Richard “Buffalo” Kalolookalani Keaulana Wednesday with its 2014 Hookahiko Award.
The award recognizes individuals who are dedicated to perpetuating Hawaiian culture and traditions.
Keaulana, known as one of the founding fathers of surfing, spent 34 years as a lifeguard at Makaha Beach. An avid surfer and bodysurfer, he earned many titles in the 1950s and 1960s at the Makaha International Surfing Championship, which was known at the time as the most prestigious surfing contest in the world.
In 1976, Keaulana was chosen to sail on Hokulea’s maiden voyage of cultural rediscovery to Tahiti as the steersman.
In 1977, Buffalo founded Buffalo’s Big Board Surfing Classic at Makaha, which revived the diversity of surfing through varying divisions such as bodysurfing, body boarding, paipo, tandem, canoe surfing and stand-up paddle surfing. This contest still flourishes today, and is cherished by many in the surf community.
His wife, Evangeline Leimomi “Momi” Whaley, was also honored.
Duke’s Hookahiko Award was established in 1998 to honor those who, today, live exemplify and pass on those traditions.
Past recipients include Pualani Mossman, Aunty Genoa Keawe and Violet Pahu Lilikoi, George Kanahele, Wright Bowman Sr., Winona Beamer, Esther Kakalia Westmoreland, the Kamaka Brothers, John and Poakalani Serrao, Kaui Brandt, Joanne Kahanamoku Sterling, Nalani Kanekaole and Sig Zane, Mac Poepoe, Valentine Kamealoha Apoi Ching Jr., Leinaala and Wilfred Lopes, and Joseph “Nappy” and Anona Napoleon.