Luna Boardriders charge into first place
LAHAINA — It’s official! After decades of perseverance by Kim Ball, Hawaii’s sport of kings — surfing — is an official high school activity.
Westside youth community leader and local businessman Ball had worked tirelessly over the last decade to gain official status for surfing as a high school sport in Hawaii, and his efforts were rewarded two weeks ago as the Maui Interscholastic League championships were held at Hookipa Beach Park.
It was actually the 16th annual event, but the contest had always been held under the guise of various titles until Ball’s efforts gained sanction from the state Board of Education.
As Coach Kim is a Lahaina resident, with three sons who had attended Lahainaluna, it was quite fitting that the Lahainaluna High School team, heretofore known as the Westside Boardriders, ripped and slashed their way to the top title in the first official MIL event.
The team also has a first year head coach in special education teacher Erik Jennings to sweeten the victory cake.
Held in two to three foot surf with good conditions, the Lunas were led by first place finishes in three of the six events on their way to racking up 128 points to easily outscore runner-up King Kekaulike for the championship.
Three-sport star and honor student Koral Gill, a junior, won the girls bodyboard division; sophomore Casey Egan took the girls longboard title; and senior Nick Falbo slashed his way to the boys shortboard gold medal.
Also picking up valuable points for Lahainaluna were Jennifer Santos, who took second place, and Leilani Miranda finishing fourth in the girls shortboard category; Egan doubling up to take second in the girls body board event, followed by Avery LaClergue in third and Santos in fifth; and Miranda earning third place points in the longboard division.
Rounding out the roster for Lahainaluna were Kili Labatte, Mitchell Loewen, Puali Solomon, Byce Jacinto, Deeson Allen, Aaron Barca, Jonathan Manglaylay and Julian Light. Andy Claydon and Crosby Beam assisted Coach Jennings with the Lunas.
“I’d really like to send out a big thank you to Kim Ball for organizing this event and bringing it up to official status, as well as Rick Waring for his help,” said Jennings.
“Its really a good thing to motivate the kids in school to get good grades and be able to participate in the contest,” Jennings added.
“We also appreciate the sponsorship of TS Restaurants, Rusty, Randy Blumer and Honolua Surf Co., and the Hawaii Meth Project for their support of the contest.”