Team Hawaii needs your help as they hit the waters for World Para Surfing Championship

The Hawaii Adaptive Surf Team has descended on the California coastline for the ISA World Para Surfing Championship.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 5:21 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2022 at 7:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Pismo Beach, nearly 200 adaptive athletes have descended on the California coastline for the ISA World Para Surfing Championship, a gathering of the globe’s best adaptive water athletes.

Aaron Paulk’s competing in the division for the visually impaired.

“If you watch any of the coverage which I think you can replay on the ISASurf.org website, you’ll see the hype and the stoke level are just completely through the roof here,” Paulk’s said.

The annual event has grown by leaps and bounds. This is kneeling surfer Josh Bogle’s fourth ISA World Championship.

“It’s really amazing to be around all these different people from different countries,” Bogle said.

“And we’re all riding the same waves on the same day. It’s just a beautiful thing.”

Six surfers make up Team Hawaii.

Some of the competing nations have three times as many members, but Hawaii has made big strides in adaptive surfing, with a big assist from AccesSurf.

“I don’t want to say it’s beyond AccesSurf but it is in a good way,” said AccesSurf executive director Cara Short. “It’s really exciting to see.”

The international competition comes at a crucial time. ISA is campaigning to make adaptive surfing a Paralympics sport starting in 2028.

“I guess the decision is going to be made in January, 2023,” Paulk said. “We’re all in high hopes and we’re really showing up in this event with that intention.”

The Hawaii team has been fundraising for months to help cover the cost of competing in California, and they can still use some help.

“Although there are some sponsors and support from different areas, most of the athletes are funding themselves. It really adds up,” Short said.

If you want to make a donation, go to the team’s website at HawaiiAdaptiveSurfTeam.com.

Last year, Hawaii’s team finished in fifth place out of 24 competing nations.

“Whether it’s raining or the waves are bad, I think we show up with our full aloha,” Bogle said.

The ISA World Para-Surfing Championship wraps up on Sunday.

You can catch all the action on ISA’s livestream at ISASurf.org.