Legends in the water were honored on land Thursday night at the Outrigger Canoe Club in Waikiki. A crowd gathered to honor the 5 newest inductees into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame.
There's many different ways to describe a waterman, but a true definition of one is easier seen in plain site.
Thursday nights ceremony was extra special for China Uemura who played on these grounds as a kid.
"I still cannot believe I got inducted into the Hall of Fame. You cannot explain the feeling, I'm so happy and I'm happy for my family and everybody that went guide me to the right road," says Uemura, a surfing champion.
Uemura's an expert longboarder, but his greatest achievement might be his charitable work. Putting together more than 100 fundraising events for Hawaii non-profits.
Linda Kaiser is the only female inductee this year. She's known as a champion paddler, but is also the first person and only woman to swim all nine Hawaii ocean channels. She accomplished that during a span from 1989 through 2005.
"I just, I can't believe I'm going to be on the same page as these people, it just takes my breath away. Just being a woman and being inducted into the Waterman Hall of Fame, that's amazing," says Linda Kaiser, Hawaii channel swimmer.
Steve Borowski coached Punahou's swim teams to 13 straight state titles. In 2001, he started the Kealakehe high school swim team and won a state title there as well. One of his idols is Duke Kahanamoku.
"Aside from him, the other people that are in the hall are phenomenal, so to be recognized with these people is just incredible," says Steve Borowski, a champion swimmer and coach.
Bill smith was from Maui. He won two gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics and was also a water safety director for the City and County of Honolulu. He established lifeguards on Oahu's beaches island wide.
Perhaps the greatest steersman all-time, Tommy Conner, won the Molokai Hoe 11 times and in 1986 steered all 41 miles by himself.
Both Smith and Conner have passed but their legends will live on with the rest of the Hawaii Watermen.
The criteria used to select inductees are:
-Keiki o ka aina/Keiki o ke kai.
-Someone that makes an outstanding contribution to a water sport.
-Having International, national and local accomplishments.
To nominate a waterman or waterwoman for consideration, please email a letter detailing the nominee's accomplishments to the following: