As someone who isn’t familiar with the world of surfing, this documentary about five-time Olympic medalist and Native Hawaiian Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was a revealing and beyond inspiring viewing that defies time and legacy.

Majestically narrated by Jason Momoa, the film takes us on a journey through the many highlights of Duke’s professional life. He’s the person who brought surfing to the world while overcoming a lifetime of personal and societal challenges, that are still relevant to this day. Swimming from local fame to global sensation, he build a path for himself that set himself up to be the trailblazer he eventually would be known as.

Isaac Halasima‘s film explores and celebrates Duke’s triumphs and philosophy of inclusion, challenging us all to embrace diversity and incorporate Aloha into our own lives. Through the countless interviews with family and well respected individuals that carry on his legacy, we fully see Duke’s impact on not just the surfing community, but the history of extreme sports and Hawaii itself as well. The archival footage and reenactments of pivotal moments in his life aren’t just used as filler, but carefully selected to build an even more emotional story intertwining with Momoa’s narration of Duke’s life story.

Waterman is a perfect example of how to celebrate a legacy, and inspire a whole new generation to reach their full potential.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Waterman is currently screening at Melbourne International Film Festival. More information and tickets can be found HERE

Reviewed online (screener provided by festival), July 21, 2022. Running time: 88 min.

PRODUCTION: A Purdie Distribution release of a Miscellaneous Entertainment & Sidewinder Films production. Producers: Chet Thomas, David Ulich & Steven Ungerleider. Executive producers: Josh James, D. Todd Shepherd & Joe Simpson.

CREW: Director: Isaac Halasima. Writers: Scott Elder & Josh Harmon. Cinematography: Carter Fawcett. Music: Timothy Stuart Jones.

CAST: Duane DeSoto, Laird Hamilton, Fred Hemmings, Jack Johnson, Ha’a Keaulana, Kathy Kohner, Kai Lenny, Jason Momoa, Kelia Moniz & Carissa Moore.

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