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Updated: Sep 19, 2022

Isaac Halasima, Director

Best documentary feature at 2021 Florida Surf Film Festival

Best documentary feature at 2021 Florida Surf Film Festival

Surfing legend. Olympic superstar. Hawaiian icon. American hero. Five-time Olympic medalist and Native Hawaiian Duke Paoa 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. From modest roots in Waikiki, Duke swam his way to fame, becoming the face of a changing Hawaii – and a vital part of its tourism industry – as it evolved from an independent Kingdom to the 50th American state. Relatively few outside Hawaii know the full extent of Duke’s impact on sports, lifesaving, and combatting prejudice. 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.

Released in 2021

Running time: 88 minutes

FHFF Film Category: Explorers & Adventures

FHFF Film Sponsor: Friday Harbor Suites


Friday, October 21 - Opening Night Gala - 7:00 PM

Sunday, October 23 - 1:15 PM


A Q&A with Director Isaac Halasima will begin directly following the Sunday afternoon screening.

ONLINE SCREENINGS: This film is in-theatre only. It will not be available to view on-demand.

photo: Waterman - Tom Pohaku Stone shapes and paints the surfboard used by Duane DeSoto in the film - Courtesy of Sidewinder Films


Director Isaac Halasima

Isaac Halasima

Waterman is a personal project for director Isaac Halasima, with Duke Kahanamoku being one of the most revered and celebrated figures of his Polynesian heritage. Another connection to Duke, his uncle, Jan Gordon Fisher, sculpted the world-famous statue of Duke on the beach of Waikiki in Hawai’i.

Halasima also directed The Last Descent (2016), which won two Utah Film Awards and played in theaters across the western United States. He made his first big national move as a director with his music videos “Demons” and “Gold” for the band Imagine Dragons, with “Demons” receiving an MTV/VMA nomination for Rock Video of the Year.


Friday Harbor Film Festival thanks our presenting sponsors:

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