Surfing was originated in Hawaii, was perfected in Hawaii, and will now be part of high school sports in Hawaii. Hawaii will become the first state to recognize surfing as a state championship sport in high school. What do I say? This has been a long time coming, and it is abut time.
Board of Education member Keith Amemiya, the former executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association, announced the news yesterday at a press conference under the banyan tree at Queen’s Beach in Waikiki. World Surfing Champion Carissa Moore was also on hand to speak, as you could feel the excitement and buzz in the air.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie was there to give his blessing, as was noting Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz , who is a devoted surfer.
“This is a real pleasure for me and Brian Schatz. We’re in total support,” the governor said. “Surfing is an official sport of Hawaii, but we’ve been unable to put together the necessary protocol to get it under way in the schools until now.”
One of the advantages of the new school board and the new sense of cooperation among the administration and the Board of Education, the superintendent of education and the entire DOE, is we’re able to work together to accomplish what we’re doing today.
Carissa Moore also took the podium and was filled with excitement. “It can keep kids excited about staying in school. It’s really positive,” she said. “I wasn’t pro until my junior year in high school, so I think I would’ve still have been able to compete and it would’ve been really nice to have more support from my teachers.” Moore’s sister, Cayla, is a freshman at Kamehameha.
“She’s excited about the opportunity to represent her school and Hawaii,” Moore said. “At Punahou, we have about 20 people in our surfing club.”
As sated above, this has been a long time coming, especially when you think of the popularity of surfing, not only in Hawaii, but also around the world. This stance by the Hawaii BOE may serve as a template for other states that are thinking of making surfing a recognized high-school sport.
There are a few loose ends to tie up still. One of the biggest questions that has yet to be answered is whether or not pros who are still in high school would be allowed to compete for an HHSAA championship. At the Hawaii Surfing Association, pros can compete at the junior level, so we will see how this plays out.
Whatever happens, this should be a fantastic step for Hawaii schools, as there are probably countless teens that are very excited about the opportunity to surf for their schools.