Updated: October 2, 2022
A film about the life and legacy of Hawaiʻi’s Duke Paoa Kahanamoku opens this weekend, with showtimes at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center’s Consolidated Theatres.
The five-time Olympic medalist and Native Hawaiian shattered records and brought surfing to the world while overcoming a lifetime of personal challenges. Waterman explores his journey and legacy as a legendary swimmer, trailblazer, and the undisputed father of modern-day surfing, following the sport’s first-time inclusion in this year’s Olympic Games–a fitting tribute to his work promoting the sport around the globe.
Waterman stars Duane DeSoto who plays Duke and surfs a 100 pound redwood board shaped by Pohaku Stone. The 90 minute film is narrated by Jason Momoa, with notable cast members that include Laird Hamilton and Fred Hemmings.
The original documentary also features commentary from surfing’s biggest stars, including newly-crowned Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore, while also delving into Duke’s personal successes, struggles and humanitarianism through rare footage, contemporary visuals and incisive interviews.
“Getting to share the sport with so many people that maybe have never even watched surfing was super special,” Moore told the World Surf League after winning gold. “As a Hawaiian, just seeing Duke Kahanamoku’s dream come true to have surfing in the Olympics is super special. It’s a big time for surfing to be recognized on this level.”
From modest roots in Waikīkī, Duke swam his way to fame, becoming the face of a changing Hawaiʻi.
“Through Duke’s incredible athletic accomplishments, personal doctrine of Aloha, and enduring gift of surfing to the world, the film explores a theme that still resonates today –the role of sports in breaking societal barriers –and celebrates his triumphs and philosophy of inclusion, challenging us all to embrace diversity and incorporate Aloha into our own lives,” according to a film synopsis.
Towards the end of last year, the film was shown at several film festivals including the Hawaʻi International Film Festival, Maui Film Festival, and film events in Florida and Laguna, winning a number of awards.
Waterman is directed by Isaac Halasima and is produced by Sidewinder Films & The Foundation for Global Sports Development. Notably, Halasimaʻs uncle, Jan Gordon Fisher, sculpted the world-famous statue of Duke at Waikīkī on O’ahu. Producers are David Ulich and Dr. Steven Ungerleider, along with executive producer Michael Cascio.
The film is being released to Consolidated and Regal movie theaters throughout the state, starting April 1 to May 9, 2022. Opening night showtimes at QKC are 5 and 7:15 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2022. Additional showtimes are posted online.