Prepare to meet a larger-than-life legend in Waterman, a film about native Hawaiian, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. As a five-time Olympic medalist, he shattered records in swimming while also being recognized as the undisputed father of surfing. He rose from virtual unknown to Olympic world-record holder in three months and developed the flutter kick, still used by swimmers today. He might be the only sporting legend with a statue in his honor on three different continents.
But Duke was more than a sporting icon of his time. He used his surfboard to invent new lifesaving techniques before the profession even existed. As a native Hawaiian, he had a genuine respect and appreciation for the natural environment that infused his approach to surfing which is still one of the distinctive elements of the sport today. He endured a lifetime of poverty imposed upon amateur athletes foreshadowing contemporary debates about who should profit from their personal successes. And he battled overt racism throughout his life but found his own gracious way of becoming a racial pioneer breaking down walls of ignorance and prejudice without compromising his generous spirit. Duke overcame a lifetime of personal challenges and is celebrated in Hawaii today as the true Ambassador of Aloha.
When the world saw Duke, the world saw Hawaii – the legendary Waterman of Hawaii and a true American hero.
Narrated by Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Game of Thrones), this original documentary by Sidewinder Films features commentary from surfing’s biggest stars, including Kelly Slater, Laird Hamilton, and first-ever Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore, through rare archival footage, contemporary visuals, and incisive interviews.
Filmmakers: Isaac Halasima – Director, Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich – Producers, Chet Thomas – Co-Producer. Run time: 1 hour 34 minutes