Students Compete in First Scholastic Surf Contest

Candide Kreiger
Candide Kreiger
Iris Kahaulelio
Iris Kahaulelio
Kyle Risher
Kyle Risher

OAHU (KHNL) -- About 30 high school students hit the waves for the first of its kind surf contest. It's not about what they were competing for -- it's who.

It's not the North Shore. It's not the biggest waves. But this contest is historic. It's the first high school surf meet sanctioned by the Department of Education.

"I'm stoked," said Candide Kreiger, of Kaimuki High School.

"Very excited," said Iris Kahaulelio, surf coach at Kahuku and one of the pioneers who fought for making surf a sanctioned sport. "Finally, the day has come since we worked, after the board unanimously approved surfing as a high school sport."

That was May 2004. Since then, policies were written up, coaches and students took safety training, finally allowing students to hit the waves, officially representing their school.

"It's just fun, like contest experience and surfing," said Kyle Fisher, of Kahuku High. "It's always just good fun."

"It feels good, proud to represent Kaimuki," said Kreiger.

And long overdue for some. Schools across the mainland, like in California, Florida, even New York, already have high school surf competitions.

"Surfing started in Hawaii, so yeah, it is pretty weird," said Kreiger.

"We're catching up," said Kahaulelio.

Right now, just four schools are competing -- Kahuku, Castle, Kaimuki, and Kalaheo -- in four events.

But this is just the beginning.

"When there's a new program, people are hesitant to get into it," said Kahaulelio. "But once they see how successful it could be, then they'll jump on the bandwagon."

And wax up their boards.

In Sunday's meet, Kaimuki beat Kalaheo, and Kahuku beat Castle in the team competition. There's also individual titles for boys and girls, shortboard, longboard, and body board divisions.

The next event is scheduled for April 12 at Tracks Beach in Nanakuli.