AccesSurf Hawaii team members win big at California competition

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 5:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last week’s Toyota USA Surfing Para Surfing Championship in Oceanside, California, was an ocean fest for Team Hawaii.

Three adaptive surfers from Maui rode the waves to first place finishes.

Josh Bogle is a triple amputee and a national champion.

“I’ve been training for three years to get that first place. For me this was that moment,” he said.

Aaron Paulk won the division for visually impaired surfers.

“I’m centrally blind. I look at a computer and I can’t see a thing. I can only see on the sides, the peripheral.”

Thirteen-year-old Faith Lennox took first for stand-up surfing. She’s still stoked by her winning ride.

“I dropped in, went right and then did three to four turns. Good ones. It was probably that wave,” she said.

The trio hail from Maui and represent AccesSurf Hawaii’s Adaptive Surf team. The event was the first big para-surfing competition held in the US since COVID-19 halted surf contests last year.

AccesSurf Hawaii executive director Cara Short said the wins are a testament to the athletes’ hard work.

“They kept their training. They kept their practice. They were very dedicated and very serious. And the results show it,” she said.

Teammates Eric Lazar from Kauai and Shawn Lewis from Maui also placed well in their divisions. Bogle is proud of the team’s spirit.

“We carry that aloha with us,” he said. “The excitement in the water an on the beach was just unreal.”

The next big competition for adaptive surfers is the ISA Para-Surfing World Championships later this year.

“We’re all training hard to represent Hawaii and Team Hawaii at the ISA World Championships. Eventually, that’s going to be the doorway into the Para Olympics, which we’re all striving for,” Paulk said.

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