Surf team wins 7th straight state title

National trip remains unfunded by KS

As the school year starts to wrap up, so does Kamehameha’s surf team season. The surf season is longer than most high school sports, beginning in November and ending in April. Although the surf team was able to take home another state title, it would not have been possible without the extra effort put in by the coaches and surfers.

Senior Kahia Walker said, “We lost a lot of our best surfers last year. We lost most of our short boarders who were the meat of the team. Many students had to step up their game to continue our dominance in surfing.”

At surf competitions, two schools challenge at a time. Competitions are 90 minutes long and consist of 6 divisions. Each division (heat) is 15 minutes long. The first two heats are the boy’s short board division, followed by 1 heat of girl’s short board. Next there is a co-ed heat of body boarding, boy’s long board, and finally ending with the girl’s long board division.

Coach Isaiah Walker said, “Judges award excellent scores (on a 1-10 point scale) to the surfers who perform the most critical maneuvers on the best waves with speed, power, and flow.”

This past month on April 2, the top teams in the state competed against each other in a single-elimination tournament at Turtle Bay. By the end of the tournament in the final competition, it came down to Kamehameha and Waialua. Throughout the 6 divisions in the 90-minute competition, Kamehameha and Waialua were neck and neck. Kamehameha caught up to Waialua after the boy’s short board division, with the help of Makani Walker, Kuiʻo Young, Julian Williams, and Sammy Owen. As the competition continued, the scores went back and forth until the body boarding division. Seniors RT Serikawa and Aukai Oman swept the division, earning Kamehameha their seventh straight state title in surfing.

Coach Isaiah said, “The girls short board division was tough this year, since losing National champion surfers Cayla Moore and Kealohi Sabate.”

Junior Cedar Wilson said, “We were confident that as long as we all put in the work, tried our best, and had fun in the water, then we would bring home another state title. It’s important to have good vibes with your teammates, especially when you’re out in the water.”

The Kamehameha surf team is also defending National Champions. The team competed in the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Interscholastic Championships in June last year, winning the National title after narrowly beating San Clemente High School 110-107. Cayla Moore, a graduate from the class of 2015, helped Kamehameha win the title by capturing the girls NSSA varsity short board championship. Despite the team’s outstanding performance last year, they will not be returning to compete in Nationals this year. Coach Isaiah shared that there were two reasons the team will not be going again this year. The first reason is because of the amount of work it takes to organize everything. The team has gone the past 6 years, and Ms. Lea Arce, teacher and coach at Kamehameha, has put in a lot of work over the years to get them there. All the fundraising, paperwork, and approvals to get the team to Nationals take a tremendous amount of effort. The second reason the team will not be going is due to the fact that the school does not recognize surfing as an athletic sport; it is considered a club. This makes it even harder for the team to go. They do not receive funding since they are technically a club, and they also have additional regulations to meet. There are hurdles to overcome regarding who can coach and travel. In addition, coaches must pay their own way.

Coach Isaiah said, “Sadly, we have worked really hard over the last several years to be classified as a sport, and although we have won so many accolades (including seven State titles and two National titles), and are one of the only Native Hawaiian sports on campus, we still have limited support by the school.”

Wilson said, “If we made a bigger difference in our school and communities, I think people would be more aware of the sport and would help us push it to be more than a club.”

In the future, the team will keep pushing to be recognized as a sport, but in the meantime they will continue their hard work and prepare for the next season to come.