Surfing legend. Olympic superstar. Hawai‘ian Icon. American hero.

Five-time Olympic medalist and Native Hawai‘ian Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku 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 Summer Olympics – a fitting tribute to his work promoting the sport around the globe.

Director Isaac Halisima expertly uses a 1957 episode of “This Is Your Life” as the documentary’s through line. In the episode, Duke is reunited with surprise guests who then reflect on major milestones in his storied life. These segments are then crystallized with a plethora of archive footage from newsreels, radio interviews, and photos from the turn of the century, coupled with interviews from Duke’s descendants, cultural experts, the surf world’s biggest stars. Capped with voice narration by Jason Momoa that delivers the gravitas, WATERMAN is just as thrilling as any hero’s journey story that Hollywood has unspooled.

What is also refreshing is historical context. As Duke’s many historic feats are chronicled in the film, it is couched with the very real barriers and prejudices he faced as a non-white sports icon who was held back by the same colonial and capitalist power-brokers who changed the course of Hawai’i’s history. Duke could have been a Hawai‘ian Jim Thorpe and entered professional sports, but was forced to retain his amateur status to compete in five Olympics, which were spread out even more because of the First World War.

For all the highs and lows of Duke’s life, it is his innate altruism and the embodiment of the Aloha spirit as a waterman that influenced future generations, from turning surfing into a major sports industry to the standardization of lifeguard safety and rescue practices, his contribution to the world is incomparable. WATERMAN celebrates his triumphs and philosophy of inclusion, challenging us all to embrace diversity and incorporate Aloha into our own lives.

-Anderson Le


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– This is a rain or shine event.
– No refunds under any conditions.
– ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING (which includes vapes)
– No Re-Entry
– Absolutely no coolers, outside food, drinks (including hydro flasks with water), or umbrellas allowed
– empty Hydro flasks can be allowed and filled with water at one of the water refill stations
– Any bags, knapsacks, or backpacks are  subject to search
– Any outside alcoholic beverage will be confiscated
– Blankets, towels and lawn chairs are allowed
– All attendees over 12+ years or older must be fully vaccinated and submit their vaccination card and id prior to event: People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 when more than two weeks has passed since receiving the second dose in a two dose series, or more than two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine.  A completed government-issued vaccination card (which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date last dose administered) in original, photocopied, or digital form; or other similar vaccination documentation from a healthcare provider are acceptable proof of vaccination.
– Face masks must be worn at all times (indoor and outdoors)
– Temperature checks will be taken upon arrival, anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be asked to leave
– Patrons must physically distance 6ʻ at all times
– Patrons must stay within their seats or “pods” during the entire event
– Any patron not abiding by any of the above rules are subject to ejection &/or arrest


Showtime Dates: November 5, 2021
Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Bishop Museum
Passholder Access: Supporter
GOLD POD - Front Section
- Chair seating for up to five in a pod
-  VIP admission to Hawaiian Olympians Exhibit (specific hours TBD)
SILVER POD - Located behind Gold
- Chair seating for up to five in a pod
- Admission to Hawaiian Olympians Exhibit (specific hours TBD)
BRONZE POD - Located behind Silver
- Lawn seating seating for up to five in a pod (bring your own blanket/lawn chair) seating closer to screen
- Admission to Hawaiian Olympians Exhibit (specific hours TBD)
LAWN SEATING (individual) - Seating on the hill on the back of the lawn
- Lawn seating (bring your own blanket/lawn chair)
- Admission to Hawaiian Olympians Exhibit (specific hours TBD)
Showtime Dates: November 21, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Consolidated Theatres Ka'ahumanu
Showtime Dates: November 18, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Palace Theater
Showtime Dates: November 20, 2021
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Waimea Theater

Online Access

Live Stream

Film Details

DIRECTOR(S)Isaac Halisima
PRODUCER(S)Steven Ungerleider

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Film Details

YEAR: 2021
RUN TIME: 88 Minutes


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