Every summer, many Southern Californians grab a board and ride the ocean waves. But surfing has a deep history that few people know.
Surfing was created by ancient Polynesians in the South Pacific who were "one with the sea." When they settled in Hawaii thousands of years ago, the Islands became the true mecca of surfing.
In the caves of Kona, there are literally ancient cave paintings of surfers. For the indigenous people of Hawaii, it was part of their religion.
In 1778, England's Captain James Cook discovered Hawaii and the astounding sight of what he called "wave riders."
Then, in 1820, the first party of missionaries arrived in Hawaii - Americans led by Hiram Bingham. He called surfing "barbarism" and the skilled wave-riders "almost naked savages." He described the scene as "appalling."
The missionaries' influence, and the diseases they brought with them, almost killed surfing and the people who loved it. But not completely.
One man, who was part of a small group who would not let surfing die, not only saved surfing but caused it to explode around the world.
"They really truly are heroes in this world and Duke is probably our #1 hero when it comes to surfing and the spirit of aloha," said Billy Pratt, co-producer of "Waterman."
The film is about the remarkable life of Duke Kahanamoku, one of the most gifted athletes the world has ever seen. In 1912, he became a world record-breaking swimmer.
"(He) went on to four Olympics, won three gold, two silver and was really a leading force in the sport," Pratt added.
What's astounding is his incredible ability to swim was a mere byproduct of his first love: surfing. He was the best in the world at both.
"Imagine being one person and being the equivalent of Michael Phelps and Kelly Slater as one person. So, he had this athletic prowess to him that I think gave everybody some sort of homage or respect to look up to him."
Kahanamoku was a dark-skinned man who garnered respect in a white world, which was unheard of. He used that prowess to demonstrate surfing -- something so few people had seen.
He spent time in California and Australia, places that are now surfing hot spots.
And when he did experience racism, which was often, he found a way to disarm the hateful.
"His answer to it was to pour love on every situation, meaning give the gift of aloha to whoever he came in contact with. If you were not so kind, treated him with racism, he would try to express aloha to you to just say 'I'm sorry, let me make our world better by me opening up to you'."
He was a rarity with an ability to bring people together, right up until his death in 1968. His ashes were taken to sea in the bay of Waikiki, now a very sacred place to all of Hawaii, Pratt said.
Thanks to Duke, the ancient Polynesian's gift of surfing lives on.