Popular contest almost canceled

China Uemura
China Uemura

By Stephen Florino - bio | email

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - For over a decade, women surfers look forward to competing in China Eemura's surf contest. The competition is good, and its for a good cause. But it was almost cancelled this year.

The ladies at Kuhio Beach take advantage of the south shore swell, enjoying waves in the 12th annual China Uemura wahine surfing classic.

"For 12 years, the women always had waves," said Uemura. "They always lucked out. It's good karma for them."

They needed every bit of that luck this year.

"I kinda was gonna cancel it this year because of the sponsorship," said Uemura. "But with having Armstrong Produce and 88 Tees and Steinlager, we pulled it off."

"A lot of the women and the girls, they'd be bummed out," he said, if the contest would've been cancelled. "They look forward to coming to this event, because it's one of the largest women event in the United States."

Uemura blames the economy for almost shutting down his classic. But the contest still took a hit. There are about a hundred fewer contestants this year, because many mainland and foreign surfers couldn't afford the higher airfares.

Still, about 175 women competed in this prestigious event.

"This is like a stepping stone for the women," said Uemura. "Get warmed up, go for their career for be pro surfers."

That's part of the reason why he puts on this event. And he doesn't want to let any of them down.

"We gonna go next year," he said. "I have a lot of faith in my sponsors."

Proceeds from the contest benefit the sex abuse treatment center at Kapiolani Medical Center.