Skating to Freedom

Service organization hosts skateboard contest.

Nick Keoho, 19, began skating a year ago, “to stay out of trouble.” And that’s exactly why Surfing the Nations comes to Molokai and hosts their Freedom Skate Contest, held last Saturday.

The organization promotes skateboarding and surfing activities for Hawaii’s youth, to keep them free from drugs and alcohol. Surfing the Nations originally built Molokai’s skate park a few years ago, and was asked to come back. So they created the skateboarding contest, now in its second year.

“It’s what we can do to excited the youth…give them a variety of things to do,” said director Charis Bauer. Her organization also does service projects while on Molokai, such as yard clean-ups and working at the mental health drop-in center.

This year’s number of participants doubled, from 16 to 34 this year. Nicole…, a Surfing the Nation volunteer, said she recognized some kids from last year and saw their improvements.

“They’re just charging it,” she said.

The contestants varied from ages three to over 50, broken down into three age groups: under 11, 11-18, and 18-plus – this was the first year the older age group was included.

Although Keoho only competed against two others in his age group, after only skating a year won first place.

Kainalu Dudoit, a seventh-grader at MMS, has also only been skateboarding for a short time – two years – while his parents weren’t even sure he’d be able to walk. Dudoit was born with spinal dysraphism, causing bilateral club feet. Even with surgery, his parents weren’t sure if he’d be able to walk – but at Saturday’s contest, Dudoit won fifth place for his fast feet skills.


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