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Malibu is rich in history. Her earliest inhabitants, the Chumash Indians, named the area Humaliwo, meaning where the surf sounds loudly. The surf has been sounding loudly ever since, calling surfers to its shores, from surfing’s first pioneers to the locals that reside in this area—many of whom are Hollywood royalty. It is home to an emerging wine-growing community as well as to many families with a passion to preserve its history and beautiful coastline.
Guests at Duke’s can take in the views of the “Queen’s Necklace” from Point Dume down to Palos Verdes out to the Channel Islands and including Catalina. Don’t forget to look right off shore where ocean wildlife such as dolphins are often seen passing by.
Adding to the lore of this landmark, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the inspiration for the Gidget novel, movie and TV series that sparked the California surfing craze, works at Duke’s Malibu as our Ambassador of Aloha. While much of the restaurant’s memorabilia honors Duke, many of our pictures and vintage collectables pay tribute to the beach lifestyle and early days of surfing in Malibu.
Widely recognized as a pioneering female surfer and an inspiration to generations of surfer girls worldwide, Kathy Zuckerman is the Real Gidget. She was ranked seventh among the 25 Most Influential Surfers of all time in Surfer Magazine’s 40th anniversary issue.
Kathy Kohner Zuckerman was born in 1941 and grew up in Southern California. She also spent some of her childhood living in Ketchum, Idaho, and Berlin, Germany. Kathy’s father, Frederick Kohner, was a screenwriter, and her mother, Mimi, was an outdoor enthusiast.
As a teenager in the mid 50s, Kathy spent several summers surfing near the Malibu pier with a group of young surfers who dubbed her “Gidget,” meaning “girl midget.” Kathy conveyed many of her experineces on the beach to her father, who, in 1957 went on to write the landmark novel “Gidget.” The novel spawned a series of movies and TV shows for Columbia and Gidget became an American icon.
Today, Kathy is an in-demand public speaker, and is acitve in the surf community having traveled across the continental U.S., Hawaii and Australia to promote surf culture and the 2001 reissue of the “Gidget” novel.
At Duke’s Malibu we are proud to have Kathy as part of our staff serving as our Ambassador of Aloha. You can come in to Duke’s and meet Kathy, the Real Gidget, Tuesday evenings and on Sundays during brunch.