Local Surfers Shred it Up
Friendly Isle rippers medal at state tournament.
By Dispatch Staff
Molokai surfers represented at the season finale for the Hawaii Surfing Association, On Oahu on June 4, 5, and 6. Kaoli Kahokuloa, Taoa Pou, and Mark Shima competed against more than 270 surfers from around the state.
All three Molokai competitors duked it out in the shortboard divisions in nearly perfect surf at Ala Moana Bowl, on Magic Island.
Molokai grown Kahokuloa took third place in his division and won $150, a stuffed prize bag and a huge trophy.
Taoa Pou competed fiercely but didn't advance out of his first round heat.
Shima, as seasoned veteran, slashed his way to a second place finish in his division for the second year in a row. Shima said he’s thankful to surfing legend China Uemura for the hospitality and to Molokai local Steve Morgan for shaping “incredible surfboards that help keep me in the game.”
“I also gotta say Mahalo to God for sending us epic waves,” said Shima who reported that the contest had the biggest and cleanest swell of the early summer season. Wave heights held steady in the 2-5 foot range (double overhead) throughout the three day event. Many contestants called it the best contest waves they've ever surfed.
Prize money was awarded to certain divisions for only the second year in the contest’s 46-year history. And the surfers proved worthy; they looked every bit the aspiring professional, carving up the pristine waves with calculated precision.
Surfing is one of the few sports where amateurs are allowed to accept prize money, and in fact many of the young grommets, like Kahokuloa, are already heavily sponsored.
State champions were crowned in 25 different divisions, including for the first time this year, a Stand Up Paddle division. The top surfers from the contest will represent Hawaii at the Surfing America USA Championships at Huntington Beach in August.
Shima said that they are always looking for more surfers who will represent Molokai with aloha. He says that interested surfer should start training and practicing now.