Kona Surf Film Festival

Words by festival Organizer and Founder Chad Campbell 

February 2, 2017 


The Kona Surf Film Fest presented by ALTRES, nicknamed “KSFF”, officially started at 4pm on January 28th 2017.  But It really started around March of last year.  Email email email, art, venue, email.  Security, musicians, films. Films, films, films. Email.  What makes KSFF so special though, is that people involved really come together like we are all working on the annual backyard barbecue for the family.  It’s very casual, very roots, and very awesome. Our Island community is the reason we all put so much effort into this event. From the community, for the community. Starting from our title sponsor ALTRES, and listing off Hurley, Island Air, Primo Beer, Freesurf Mag, Kona Boys, the Wave 92fm, Kohanaiki, on through the long list of product sponsors, and add to that the amazing volunteers, security, audio visual crew, hotel staff, and the public - the cohesive factor is that everybody is super cool and down to help out a rad homegrown event.


For the first time ever, this year the festival officially sold out.  Nearly 1500 people put the Honu lawn at the Kona Beach Hotel at full capacity, and the Big Island surf community got cozy under the stars.  The Primo beers flowed as we listened to jams by Ron Artis & Thunderstorm, Moni, Lee and J, and Hualalai.  Along with our 30+ local vendors, we had storyBOARDS painting amazing wall panel live art installations, pairing artists Justin Dryer and Eukaretz with kids from Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino and Konaweana schools. Shane Dorian, Ian Walsh, and the Goodwin Family all signed autographs for the groms. Filmmakers Ryan Moss and Etienne Aurelius both gave awesome speeches, and their films (the Aloha Project and Ulualoha, respectively) were epic.  Both Walsh’s and the Goodwin Family’s films drew oohs and aahs and left the crowd moved.  


KSFF is the worlds first and longest running Surf Film Festival, but still maintains the cool down-to-earth vibe that it began with.  Once again, local legends showed up to mix with young shredders.  Surfers, bodyboarders, and SUPers bought each other beers.  Crews from all around the Island showed up to support their west side Kona ohana, and the old and young alike were in awe of the amazing filmmaking, art, music, and good vibes that make KSFF so EPIC!


All that being said…. We couldn’t have done it without a long list of people! We are so thankful to all the sponsors and volunteers and everyone who helped.  So here we go :)



My family: Keli, Steve (the Chief Engineer!) and Keri Campbell for being Epic.  


We couldn’t have a film festival without the films!! A giant mahalo to all the filmmakers, we very much appreciate your work: Andrew Kaineder, Alex Dephillipo, Etienne Aurelius, Ryan Moss, Liz Clark and Patagonia, Cliff Kapono, Anders Carlson, Onde Nostre, Ian Walsh and Red Bull Media House, and Jess Bianchi and the Goodwin Family.


Our title sponsor ALTRES and the whole crew for giving the festival massive continuing support! Michelle, Rebecca, Song, and Lee. Our other awesome sponsors who helped make this event possible: Primo Beer, Island Air, the Wave 92fm, Endurance Conspiracy, Kona Boys, Hurley, Kohanaiki and Freesurf Magazine.


Alyssa Kratz, Sarah Rafferty, and Nick Matisse for holding down the ticketing. You rule!


Krista Joan Donaldson and crew for keeping us moving toward a zero waste event.  You guys are a positive inspiration!


Heather, Jeff, Bear, and the whole AVS crew.  Been quite a few years now and you guys always kill it! We really appreciate the support and good work!


Kelly Slater and Shane Dorian for doing silly promo videos with us. Frank Carpenter, Brock Stratton, Tony Deboom, Big Tony, Mike Latronic, Janna Frash, Joe Root Matty Liu, Bob Hurley, Evan Slater, Leilani Ho’okano and Pat O’connell for having our back!!


The video and photo people: Haj, Kahena Cinema, Charla Photography, Shawn Pila, Jaybles Photography


All the sponsors and crew who donated product to help raise money for Hawaii Wildlife Fund and Surfrider Kona: Keli at Tomboy Bombshell, Greg Bergen at Arbor, Big Tony at Volcom, the whole Pacific Vibrations (McMichael) family, Robert Patterson at Surf Designs Hawaii, Leah from Fairwinds, Holly from Sea Paradise, John from Body Glove, Brandon Ahuna at Alaia by Ahuna, the Nectar crew, Gary Young at Wooden Classics Hawaii, the legend uncle Mel Behasa, FIRN, Trav Lee at Slater Designs, ARVO, SUGA yoga crew, Brandan Ahuna da man at Alaia By Ahuna, Gary Young sick boards! Captain Zodiac, Kona Honu Divers, Big Island Divers, Orchidland Surf, Kohala Zipline, Ocean Sports, UFO parasail, DB Photography, Sirena Pearls, Destines,  and Danjah Springer / CNTRD Yoga.


The artists!  Danielle Zirklebach, Miriam Jo, Chris Nelson, and Charlotte Ledger for your beautiful work on the boards.


Steve Campbell, Adam Broderson and No Shirt Jesse for the engineering squad. 

Holly and Candace, the hardest workers on job!


The Hawaii Wildlife crew: Megan Lamson, Stacey Breining, Kallie Barnes, Jess Steele, Lindsey Kramer, Joe Blasher, Lydia Smith, Mike Ellsworth, Kiwa Hasegawa, Emiliegh Tena, Mackenzie Lamson.


The Surfrider Foundation Crew: Troy Tunningley, Marie Chavis, Sarah Rafferty, Mason Myrmo, Joi Petrik, Mike Ellsworth, Holly Kersten, and Candis Stansell. Awesome people and the girls are expert builders!


Manea Akau and the storyBOARDS crew!  Justin Dryer, Eukaretz and the keiki and Kumu from Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino and Konaweana schools.


Dub and Rudy! legit sound AV guys.  I’ll do better on planning next year :P


The Courtyard Marriot King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel staff: Jak Hu, Tabitha Tavares, Kerstin Busse, Uilani Ho’omana, Kalei Villacorte and all the food, banquet and grounds crew, and the parking staff!   Thanks for working with us gang!


Uncle Brian and the Viking Security Crew. Bra, keeping us in line!


All the Bands: Moni, Ron Artiss II and Thunderstorm, Hualalai, Lee Lee and Josh, and Dan Brauer


All the vendors who made their rad booths and added so much to the festival.

The entire Big Island community and beyond for coming out and sharing some good vibes!


Wouldn’t be surprised if I missed one or two, or a few of you.. Sorry Sorry!… But know that we really really really appreciate the work and help and love!! Mahalo Nui Loa!!