Blake’s first taste of surfing came in 1920, when he met the iconic Hawaiian surfer and Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku in the lobby of a Detroit movie theater. To this day, there have only been two men in history inducted into both the Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Surfing Hall of Fame: Tom Blake and Duke Kahanamoku. While Duke’s legacy is memorialized through a statue on the shores of Waikiki, Blake is little known outside of the surfing world.
Blake's list of accomplishments is simply too exhaustive to list here. However, a partial record includes the invention of the surfboard fin, writing the very first book about surfing (Hawaiian Surfboard, 1935), riding the longest wave ever surfed, the development of the lightweight surfboard, the invention of the underwater camera housing, the first to surf Malibu , 10-mile U.S. National Open Water Swimming Champion, winner of 1928 Pacific Coast Surfriding Championship, and winner of 1932 Catalina Paddleboard Race.
For a comprehensive summary of Blake's life and accomplishments, please see Tom Blake: The Uncommon Journey of an American Waterman, by Gary Lynch and Malcolm Gault-Williams (Croul Publications, 2001)
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