Amateur Surf Event Stepping Stone for Future Pro Surfers

HONOLULU (KHNL)--It's an annual event with over forty years of tradition.

The Hawaii amateur state surfing championships at Ala Moana bowls, has churned out world tour pros like Andy Irons, Sunny Garcia, and Pancho Sullivan. Now, surfers from all over the state hope they will be the next wave of the future.

"All the top pros have come through the Hawaii amateur surfing association. It's been the normal ladder or way to go into professional surfing," said Bernie Baker, one of the HASA judges.

And that's exactly the goal for hundreds of local amateur surfers as they compete in the three day championship. They're in search of prestigious honors and titles in 27 divisions in short board, long board and body surfing.

"It pushes you to surf your hardest because it's not only Oahu, it's all the other islands so you're surfing against the best amateur surfers there are," said Missy Valdez, an Oahu surfer.

"It helps me a lot to get better so I can go to bigger events, with bigger people," added Kaoli Kahokuloa, a surfer from Kauai.

The top three winners in the championship receive invitations to represent Hawaii in the mainland at a national competition.

"It's an honor to represent Hawaii in the mainland, I mean Hawaii is so small and the United States is so big, so it's real good to represent Hawaii and represent it well," said Keanu Asing, an Oahu surfer.

But even when a surfer doesn't qualify for nationals, there's still a lot of perks for putting together solid runs.

"That's basically how the state of Hawaii chooses it junior world, and world teams, is through the Hawaii surfing association," said Baker.

And if that doesn't pan out, at least participants get a chance to surf in an otherwise over populated spot.

"Bowls is always crowded, so, it's rewarding in itself," said Valdez.

Event organizers hoped to use computer scoring systems like the ones at professional events, however, the computers didn't come in, so they will score it the old way. The championship runs through Friday.