Big Island Surf Films and Fishponds

The 7th Annual Kona Surf Film Festival offers an opportunity to explore Hawaiian history with its new location at Big Island’s Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. While enjoying the film festival you may want to check out the historic fishponds on the property.

The fishponds at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel were a highlight of my stay at the resort back in August.

Even if you can’t make it to the film festival they deserve a prominent place on your itinerary.  I was expecting something small and was surprised to see they covered a combined water surface area of 15 acres. Dating back to 250 B.C., the fishponds were created by ancient Hawaiians who used them to raise fish and supplement their ocean fishing efforts.

Also in the same area is Keawanui Landing, the site of a canoe landing and village belonging to King Kamehameha the Great. It provided a nice photo opportunity.

If you’re not a guest at the hotel, there is public parking available on the resort grounds. To reach the lot, take the first left after the round-about. From there it’s a 15 minute walk to the fishponds.

The 7th Annual Kona Surf Film Festival is December 3 and 4 (Friday/Saturday).

First film starts after sunset in their outdoor cinema at Hale Hoaloha Pavilion. You can enter beginning at 4:30pm. Bring your beach chair and watch these newly released surf flicks from around the globe. All viewed under a Hawaiian starlit sky. For an extra fee, the chefs at Mauna Lani will fire up the grill and serve you fish tacos (plus adult beverages).

Sounds like a perfect way to enjoy history and surfing on your Big Island vacation. Plus, you may get to meet the filmmakers and rub elbows with some famous faces of the surfing world.


Tickets: $12 in advance or $15 at door. Children tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. A two day pass is $20 for adults and $14 for children. Buy in advance at Folklore. No coolers allowed.

Location: Hale Hoaloha Pavillion at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows, 68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive, Kohala Coast, on the Big Island.

After Party: Ocean Bar and Grill at Mauna Lani.

Dates/Times: Doors open at 4:30 on December 3 and 4; first film screened after sunset.

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