HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since 2007, AccessSurf has provided an avenue for those with disabilities to surf competitively. This week, the 2019 Hawaii Adaptive Surfing Competition finds its way back to Kuhio Beach with 75 surfers from 15 countries.
“Hawaii has always been recognized globally as being at the forefront of surfing. The Hawaii Adaptive Surfing Championships continues to push the envelope for adaptive surfers and the sport everywhere,” said AccesSurf executive director Cara Short.
The athletes will compete in eight qualifying divisions: Stand, Sit, Prone, Kneel, Assisted, Visually Impaired, Mixed, and Juniors.
Winners of each division will compete to become the overall adaptive champion and win the "Nalu Award.” Additional Deaf and Wounded Warrior divisions will also compete but those divisions do not have qualifiers.
One surfer looking to compete is 2017 International Surfing Association Women’s Prone Adaptive Surfer World Champion, Ann Yoshida. Yoshida was the first adaptive athlete to be inducted into the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame last year.
“I’m definitely going to compete,” Yoshida said. “People come from all over the world, the best in the sport. So it’s really amazing to develop as a community and see everybody around, create that inclusive community.”
In addition to the competition, a “Surfing with the Stars” fundraiser will take place on Wednesday, June 19th featuring local celebrities and surfers Benji Weatherly, Bob Hurley, Ross Williams, Makua Rothman, Keahi Tucker, Eli Olson and Kelia Moniz among others.
Proceeds will directly benefit AccesSurf to support crucial water programs for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. For more information on this week’s competition and fundraiser, click here.