LAHAINA - It took the Hawaii Department of Education and the Hawaii High School Athletic Association decades to wade through the red tape and indecision, but when the tide rolled in, the Maui Interscholastic League made history this spring and sanctioned the first-ever official high school surfing season to be held in the United States.
Indeed, the tireless effort of Valley Isle water sports pioneers such as Kim Ball have finally come to fruition with the breakthrough MIL contests.
The competition climaxed last month at Hookipa, with the Lahainaluna High School girls ripping their way to the team championship in the shifting, chest-high surf led by shortboard slashers Aloha Lopez and Sierra Lerback.
The Lahainaluna High School girls surfing team won the Maui Interscholastic League team championship, and the boys finished in third place. PHOTO BY ART FILLAZAR.
Lady Lunas Candace Hanneman and Makoa Ah Sam tied for seventh in this event to add valuable points to the team total.
In the bodyboard competition, Rose Millard carved her way to a bronze medal, and Sierra Larsen added support to help Lahainaluna capture this unforgettable title.
In the boys' standings, the Lunas finished in third place overall, paced by the gold medal performance of bodyboarder Nainoa Steward as well as Jonah Ventura and Justice Jacinto, who tied for seventh place in the event.
In the shortboard category, Lahainaluna's Cyan Clark tied for fifth place and teammate Mario Menze tied for seventh. Rounding out the Luna roster were Kala Willard and Hawea Tihada.
First-year Lahainaluna coach Luke Adolfson was understandably thrilled to be a part of the momentous event.
"It has been such a blessing to be able to work with the kids on the Luna surf team. I've grown up surfing down on the Big Island in many contests and traveled to Australia and Indonesia, where I experienced some life-changing incidents where I ended up in the hospital," he said.
"I decided then to refocus on the things that last forever - God, family and friends. And now, with that focus, I've found the blessing to coach the Lahainaluna surf team," Adolfson continued.
"I am so thankful for this opportunity and to people like Andy Claydon, Faith Stephen, Erin Emmerich, Trevor Kuhnmuench, Bobby Twitchell and Rudi King for the support they've given to the team. We had a great time, and we're looking forward to next year!"