Kona Surf Film Festival rides into town Saturday

Hawaii’s premiere international surf festival returns Saturday for its 14th year at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona.

The Kona Surf Film Festival brings film, music and art to the Big Island community with independent short and feature films.


“The Kona Surf Film Festival is a chance for filmmakers to expose their work to a more mainstream audience that is psyched to share in the thrill of surfing outside of the water,” said Chad Campbell, festival founder and director. “These films are packed with beauty, creativity and awesome soundtracks. We get films from here on the Big Island and as far away as Iceland, so it really is an international lineup with documentary, action and even comedy films.”

The festival was founded in 2013 by Campbell who himself is a surfer and filmmaker. He created the festival to share his passion of surfing with and filmmaking with the community.

“I grew up surfing, and surf films are a big part of surfing culture,” said Campbell. “The festival brings the Big Island surfing community together from Kohala, Ka’u and Hilo side. My mission is to throw an event that’s good vibes and good times for the surfing community. Participants get an authentic slice of surfing culture and Hawaii culture at the festival.”

Established and emerging surf filmmakers from around the globe will show their work at the festival. Proceeds will benefit local nonprofits working to promote education, awareness and whose work affects the impact human beings have on the earth and oceans.

“The festival is growing larger every year,” said Campbell. “It’s a good venue with good vibes. There’s four hours of movies and live music. This year we have even more music, with bands including Leche De Tigre, Ron Artis II, the Critics, Philly B, Moni and Ms. Demeanor and the Felons.”

The festival often showcases unknown films and filmmakers who have a love for all things surf. The Kona Surf Film Fest gives people an opportunity to “share in the stoke,” outside the water.

“It’s real rootsy and real down to earth,” said Campbell. “It’s a great event. If you want to come down and have super good vibes and get a real authentic experience with surfing, with Kona and with Big Island surfing culture, then come down. It’s an authentic experience. It’s not pretentious at all. It’s awesome. It’s scary real. We keep it real down there, you know? But get your tickets early. It sold out last year and we couldn’t let any more people in. It was cool, but people who were late were like, ‘What?”’


Tickets for the Kona Surf Film Festival, which gets underway at 4 p.m., are $10/$30 and can be purchased at Kona Boys, Pacific Vibrations, Ola Brewing, online or at the door. Bring your own beach chair and blankets. No outside food or drinks allowed.

Info: Visit www.konasurffilmfestival.org.