Don King (photographer)

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Don King (born 1960) is an American photographer, cinematographer, and film director. He is renowned worldwide for his photographic and cinematic images of ocean surface waves and surfing.

Don King was a high school sophomore the first time he sold a photograph.[1][2] The purchaser was Surfing magazine, which used it on its cover.

After graduation from Punahou School in 1978,[3] King attended Stanford University[1][2] where he majored in psychology, belonged to the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and was on the Stanford Cardinal water polo team which won the NCAA Men's Water Polo Championships of 1978, 1980 and 1981. He graduated from Stanford in 1983.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Don King lives on Oʻahu with his wife Julianne Yamamoto King and their sons Beau, Aukai and Dane.


This is a very incomplete list of King's camera and direction credits in film and television.



  • American Express "Laird" - Director, Cinematographer
  • Cool Water/Davidoff - Director, cinematographer
  • Apple - water cinematographer
  • Armani - water cinematographer
  • Hyundai - water cinematographer
  • Coca-Cola - water cinematographer
  • Guinness - water cinematographer
  • Norwegian Cruise lines - water cinematographer
  • Johnson & Johnson - water cinematographer
  • Maytag - water cinematographer
  • Toyota -water cinematographer
  • Weight Watchers -water cinematographer
  • E Harmony -water cinematographer
  • Kaiser -water cinematographer
  • 2006: SHISEIDO "TSUBAKI in Japan - water cinematographer
  • 2011: Nike Commercial water cinematographer

Music Video

One thing that earns King such raves is his mellow personality—in a type-A industry, he’s renowned for keeping his cool. Another is his sheer water sense and athletic ability—tall and lanky, he was once a competitive swimmer and college water-polo player and has long been a top-notch bodysurfer. It’s that watersports background, he says, that allows him to bob nonchalantly at the ground zero of huge, punishing waves, holding his shot until the last possible second before diving to avoid the surfer’s slashing fins and the wave’s crushing lip.… And then there’s King’s legendary eye for the shot. “Don has an uncanny ability to hit the button only when it’s magic,” says Jai Mansson, who works with King often as assistant cameraman. “He’s like a Zen master.”

— Derek Ferrar, Hana Hou! [1]        


  1. ^ a b c Derek Ferrar (December 2004 – January 2005). "Shooting the Tube". Hana Hou! Vol. 7, No. 6. King still remembers the thrill of getting his first picture published—a cover shot for Surfing magazine—when he was just fifteen. "I was a sophomore at Punahou School," he recalls, "and my friend and I missed an assembly or something to go surfing. We went out to a secret spot, and the waves were perfect. This one beautiful blue wave came, and it barreled right over both of us. He was in the back of the tube, with this big blue curtain surrounding him, and I was completely inside it with him. At that time, you really didn’t see shots like that, and when the magazine came out, I was just so stoked, it was unbelievable. When you’re in high school, there’s nothing cooler than that." He continued contributing to surf magazines through high school and then college at Stanford. He spent half the college year in classes and the other half shooting surfing in Hawai‘i and Indonesia.… He became a staff photographer for Surfing, and his wide-angle shots from deep in the tube at Pipeline helped define the magazine’s look in the early ’80s.
  2. ^ a b Bob Jones (November–December 2006). "Add Water and Stir". Stanford Magazine. Stanford University Alumni Association.
  3. ^ "Alumni in the News". Punahou School website. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. John Clark ’64 (2006). "Mark Cunningham '74: One of the World's Best". Punahou School Alumni Profile. Punahou has a wonderful surfing history, and many of its students and teachers are legends… a real who’s who of the sport: former faculty members Peter Cole, Ricky Grigg and Fred Van Dyke; alumni Fred Hemmings ’65, Gerry Lopez ’66, Jeff Hakman ’67 and Don King ’78, to name a few.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Don King on IMDb .
  5. ^ ASIN 6304887094 Discovery Channel Raging Planet series episode "Tidal Wave" on
  6. ^ a b Don King at Yahoo! TV
  7. ^ "Aloha Mai E Na Kupuna: The Making of Surfing For Life". Surfing For Life website. Six years in the making, it was the hit of the 1999 Hawai'i International Film Festival where it sold out nine screenings on four islands and won the Golden Maile Award for Best Documentary as well as the Audience Award.
  8. ^ Heart of the Sea Archived 2002-12-09 at the Wayback Machine on Swell Cinema website.   Heart of the Sea on IMDb .
  9. ^ David Heuring (November 1, 2003). "John Paul Beeghly On a Perfect Wave". Studio Daily. …the dramatic surfing action is almost entirely shot with film cameras, because surfing must be filmed in slow motion to capture the nuances of such a fast sport. Another reason for shooting Super 16 was to accommodate Jack McCoy and Don King, undoubtedly the best surf camera operators in the world. They use very compact 16mm format cameras that can roll at extremely high frame rates to capture the beautiful, smooth slow motion you see in the film [Step into Liquid].
  10. ^ Brian Berusch (January 2007). Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama Lend A Hand: Two celebrated watermen test their limits to raise awareness of autism Archived September 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Maui No Ka ‘Oi, Winter Issue.
  11. ^ Darren Pai (February 2, 2007). "Autistic Child, A Beautiful Son". KHNL.
  12. ^ Ben Marcus (August 14, 2007). "The Most Supreme Pleasure: Path Of Purpose". LAT34. Photo gallery.