Keiki Hit the Waves

Keiki Surf Meet brings out young and old to catch some waves for second round of competition

These keiki don’t want to pose for a picture. They want to get into the water! 

By Patrick Mason

The second round of the triple crown-style keiki surf competition took place during another beautiful day of surf. Despite the high tide and less than desirable conditions, the keiki were there early, eager and excited as they practiced before their heats for the 19th year of the competition.

“The competition started with parents coming together to get their children out there and surf. It started as a community-oriented event and has remained that way even after the competition steering committee was formed. All the people involved are dedicated volunteers,” organizer Peter Angelsea said.
As Wanette Lee watched her niece and nephew catch some waves, she discussed the importance of the event. “This year there are more kids, especially local kids. It is a perfect event and great to see families coming together.” Her son Warren takes about 15 kids once a week to practice surfing.

 “The event is really good, as it inspires outdoor activities. The exercise is the most important thing, and so is keeping Molokai, Molokai,” added Phillip Kikukawa, a 7th and 8th grade teacher at Molokai Middle School.

Kikukawa has been surfing for 30 years, and has had two kids involved with the competition during the past four years.

Seven-year-old Michelle McGuire, who competed in the 5th heat of the 7- and 8-year-old division, commented on the day with, “Surfing is fun, although the high tide made it hard today. I like to paddle out and try to catch waves. I try to do spin and jump tricks mainly. Many of my friends surf, but I would like to see more come to the contest.”

The format of the competition consists of riders earning points throughout the surf series. There are four divisions: six and under, seven to eight, nine to ten, and eleven to twelve.

Riders who show up to each competition day potentially earn more points than those who miss out on one. Each heat was 10 minutes, and the number of heats per age group varied on the number of riders entered.

Next up, the results of each preliminary conclude and the semifinals begin, followed by the finals.

 “The format is meant to be static as an attempt to keep it familiar for kids, parents, and volunteers,” Angelsea said.

Judges scored riders on whether they could catch their own waves or had help from a parent, if there were any tricks pulled (spins, sitting, standing, Buddha, cockroach, walking up and down on their board, etc.), and were deducted points for interfering with another rider. The best three rides of each rider were judged and scored.

There are three judges at a time with others ready to rotate in for relief.

“The role of the judges is hectic. You have to watch and score people simultaneously, even if there are five riders dropping in at the same time,” said Angelsea.

“Their help is greatly appreciated,” he said of the Friendly Isle United Way, who has been generous in providing grant money for the competition.

When all was said and done, many people enjoyed the sense of community invoked by the competition for the keiki. A rain shower resulted in a few people leaving, but the riders and many of their families remained in the surf. The final event of the series will tally all of the riders’ points. Afterwards, goodies and awards will be given out during a potluck.


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