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American Masters Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha to Premiere on PBS Hawaiʻi


May 2, 2022

Waterman to Premiere on PBS American Masters on May 10

Narrated by Jason Momoa, the award-winning documentary about Duke Kahanamoku will soon be available to audiences nationwide.

Honolulu, HI – After a successful and well-received theatrical run, Sidewinder Films’ award-winning documentary about Duke Paoa Kahanamoku will soon be available to audiences nationwide with the upcoming television premiere of American Masters: Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha. Narrated by Jason Momoa, this new documentary reveals Kahanamoku’s influence on surfing’s global spread, his life-saving achievements, and the obstacles he conquered both within and outside the sporting world. American Masters: Waterman — Duke: Ambassador of Aloha premieres nationwide Tuesday, May 10 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.

Using rare archival footage, contemporary visuals and new interviews with Laird Hamilton (big wave surfer), Kelly Slater (11-time world champion surfer), Carissa Moore (Olympic surfing gold medalist), Jack Johnson (musician), David Davis (author, “Waterman”), Moses Goods (playwright and actor, “Duke”), Dr. Isaiah Helekunihi Walker (author, “Waves of Resistance”), Fred Hemmings (world champion surfer), Kelia Moniz (world champion surfer), Kai Lenny (big wave surfer) and others. The documentary presents Kahanamoku’s rise to fame and how he became the face of a changing Hawai’i, being officially named the state’s “Ambassador of Aloha.”

Waterman and Duke’s creed of aloha are exactly what people need right now,” said David Ulich, Waterman producer and co-founder of Sidewinder Films. “The enjoyed tremendous success in theaters, and now we are excited to partner with PBS and the American Masters team to bring the Duke’s story to a wider audience.”

Maxwell Rabb from the Chicago Reader calls the documentary “vigorously beautiful and deeply rich,” adding it “presents a glimpse into the rarely understood beauty and depth of surfing culture and its Hawaiian origins.” The film, directed by Isaac Halasima, continues to win awards, including the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Hawai’i International Film Festival and the Ocean Sports Award from the International Ocean Film Festival, among many other accolades.

American Masters is well known for highlighting the untold stories of men and women throughout history,” said Dr. Steven Ungerleider, producer of Waterman and co-founder of Sidewinder Films. “It is fitting that Duke has now earned a spot alongside the other cultural icons presented on the series.”

Audiences in Hawai’i will have the opportunity to enjoy the film in advance of its premiere as part of PBS Hawai’i’s May 4th special virtual screening, followed by a Q&A with Ron Mizutani, PBS Hawai’i’s President & CEO and Billy Pratt, Waterman Associate Producer and Director and Past President of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation.

“Words cannot express how excited, humbled and honored we are for the opportunity to share this gift with our friends and families,” said Ron Mizutani, PBS Hawai’i President and CEO. “Duke was more than a legendary waterman, he broke barriers and lived and breathed aloha. He taught people all across the world, the true meaning of sportsmanship, integrity and equality. This film will captivate and inspir

Now in its 36th season on PBS, American Masters illuminates the lives and creative journeys of our nation’s most enduring artistic giants — those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape — through compelling, unvarnished stories. To further explore the lives and works of more than 250 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers full episodes, film outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the podcast American Masters: Creative Spark, educational resources, digital original series and more. The series is a production of The WNET

Sidewinder Films has an award-winning track record in sports-related films, including the acclaimed At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal for HBO, which won TV Academy Honors, and the news making and Emmy-nominated Munich ’72 and Beyond for PBS. Sidewinder Films is a division of The Foundation for Global Sports Development, which supports initiatives that promote accessible, fair and abuse-free sport for youth through media and community-based efforts.

The Foundation for Global Sports Development, established in 1996, was born out of a desire to promote and protect the best parts of sport. Guided by its original mission, the foundation delivers and supports initiatives that promote accessible, fair, and abuse-free sport for youth. The foundation achieves this objective through grants, awards, educational projects, and filmmaking. In 2015, the foundation launched its media company, Sidewinder Films, to inspire and educate audiences through films that shed light on the remarkable, untold stories that celebrate the sport of life. Visit and to learn more.

Previous films from The Foundation for Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films include Emmy-nominated At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (HBO – 2019); Emmy-nominated Munich ’72 and Beyond (PBS – 2016); Oscar-nominated End Game (Netflix – 2018); and Positive All the Way (PBS – 2020)

Media Contact:
Kirra Downing
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