As your guide to an authentic Hawaii, Duke Kahanamoku’s presence is felt throughout this entire site. His legacy is evident when we name the best place to eat and drink in Waikiki and even when we reference Hawaiian attractions on the mainland. He is why we honored our warriors competing at the most recent Summer Olympics. And for the visitor, there’s no ignoring the mana he has left behind. You feel it when standing next to his 9-foot bronze likeness at Kuhio Beach, when walking through the Moana Surfrider, or when riding the very same waves Duke toyed with in his heyday. Local retailers have shelves lined with books that detail his exploits, and you can buy a Duke t-shirt anywhere (but do so here). Yet for all of this, there has been one gap in honoring the legend – film. Finally this is no longer the case.
Sidewinder Films has worked tirelessly to deliver the first high-production full length documentary about Duke Kahanamoku, aptly named Waterman. The film is narrated by Jason Momoa, and boasts commentary from present day Hawaiians who have been inspired to carry his legacy with victories of their own, including WSL World Champion surfer (and Olympic gold medalist) Carissa Moore. You’ll also hear from Kelly Slater, members of the Kahanamoku family, and many others. In addition to showcasing never before seen footage, the filmmakers used an actor to recreate scenes from verifiable accountings of Duke’s storied life. From bringing surfing to the world to breaking racial barriers in the Olympics and in cinema alike, Duke is a true king.
Kahanamoku is the Godfather of surfing and the world’s ambassador of Aloha. The 50th state as you know it would not exist if it weren’t for its most heralded statesman. Mahalo to Sidewinder Films for bringing his story to the “big screen”. Check out the trailer for Waterman below, and stay tuned as we provide a more in-depth review as the film is released later this year.
Duke Kahanamoku “Waterman” Review
Update (September 2021): The film has not yet been released. Check back soon for our review.