From July 2011 to June 2012 there were three historic swells that captured the attention of big wave surfers around the world. And they weren’t in Hawai‘i. Or Portugal. They hit Fiji’s famed Cloudbreak and legendary Teaupo‘o in Tahiti. A who’s who of surfing converged on them. Looking at coverage of the natural phenomena, Canadian filmmaker Brent Storm saw the a film take shape. Interviewing the men who were there and weaving it with gobsmacking footage featuring Bruce Irons, Mark Healey Nathan Fletcher, Dave Wassel, Kohl Christensen and Kalani Chapman, Storm uses this once-in-a-lifetime surf year to frame the concept of big wave surfing.

In the film Kai “Borg” Garcia calls the epic waves “the white rhino”—something so elusive, people will risk their lives to be a part of it. Storm himself will be in Honolulu to introduce his film on opening night of this year’s Honolulu Surf Film Festival, which runs July 6 to August 4. Read a Q+A with Storm about the making of the film.

Now in its 12th year, the HSFF brings new and classic surf cinema to the big screen for an entire month.

Following White Rhino is And Two If By Sea, the highly anticipated profile of surfing twins CJ and Damien Hobgood screening July 7 and 11. Six years in the making, this documentary breaks new ground in the surfer profile genre. “First and foremost we knew from the get-go we were not going to make a surf video,” director Justin Purser told Surfer Magazine. Viewers will get an inside look at the sibling rivalry and storied careers of these brothers—and have fun along the way.

Zak Noyle, the acclaimed surf photographer and senior staff photographer of Surfer Magazine, will select films to be screened July 19, 20 and 23 as part of Rising Tide with Zak Noyle. The museum held a call for submissions via Instagram, and the selected films will be announced online soon.

There is something for everyone in the festival, surfer or not, from a probing profile of past world champ Lisa Andersen, who went from teenage runaway to the top of her sport, to the evocative, experimental film EOS, featuring the stylish Kassia Meador in her liquid element. See the full schedule.

The festival continues its tradition of ending with an engaging talk-story tribute to a Hawai‘i surf legend. This year the festival honors Kimo Hollinger, whose deadpan humor has made him a hit at past closing-night events. The evening begins with a screening of Bud Browne’s 1963 classic Gun Ho!, which features Hollinger, and concludes with a panel that includes the honoree and such fellow big-wave kahunas as Joey Cabell, Peter Cole, Darrick Doerner, Randy Rarick and Jock Sutherland.

Festival awards
The museum gives out Audience Choice Awards for best feature and best short, and a Director’s Choice Award. Festival goers are invited to vote for their favorite films for the Audience Choice Awards and surf photographer Zak Noyle and surfer/filmmaker Crystal Thornburg-Homcy will select the Director’s Choice Award. The winners will be announced on closing night.

Special guests
Special guests attending their related screenings are: Brent Storm, director of White Rhino; Elizabeth Pepin Silva, director of Introducing the Super Stoked Surf Mamas of Pleasure Point; Katie Loggins, one of the mamas featured in Introducing the Super Stoked Surf Mamas of Pleasure Point; Bruce Muller, director of EOS; Burke Roberts, producer of EOS; Chris Miyashiro, director of In Dancing Days of Dawn.

The festival is presented by Nordstrom.

The museum thanks major sponsors Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, Surfjack, and Kona Brewing Company.