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Mokulele Airlines program supports talented young surfers

By Staff | Jul 6, 2017

Lahaina surfer Summer Macedo, 16, is on a roll this summer. The Mokulele Surf Team member won the Pro Junior title at the Los Cabos Open of Surf (pictured) in Mexico and the girls under 18 national crown at the Surfing America Championships in California. PHOTO BY WSL/ANDREW NICHOLS.

LAHAINA – Mokulele Airlines started its Mokulele Surf Team – a community outreach program to support and assist talented young surfers – in 2013.

Mokulele provides a unique sponsorship through flight benefits, allowing the athletes and their families to travel interisland and compete in most of the state’s junior events.

Over the past four years, the Mokulele Surf Team has evolved and reached new heights.

“Seeing the level of surfing that the kids are achieving at such young ages gives us all the encouragement necessary to continue to grow and expand what we started,” said team founder Jeromy Hansen.

Mokulele currently sponsors more than 25 athletes, including Summer Macedo, a 16-year-old phenom from Lahaina.

Summer Macedo is chaired up the beach after winning the girls under 18 national title at the Surfing America Championships. Summer and her brother, Ocean (right), have been on the Mokulele Surf Team since 2013. PHOTO BY JENNIFER MACEDO.

One of the original members of the program, Macedo has grown into mentoring the other team riders. Summer and her brother, Ocean Macedo, both joined the team in 2013. Both siblings have earned national surfing titles.

An International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championship title winner at age 15, Summer has recently been working with a variety of trainers and coaches to continue improving in every aspect of her game, as she approaches the transition from a junior pro into the Women’s Qualifying Series full-time next year. The “QS” qualifies athletes for the prestigious World Surf League Women’s Championship Tour.

On June 10, Summer competed in the Los Cabos Open of Surf in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, placing ninth in the QS competition and, against some of the best juniors in the world, broke through to capture the win in the Pro Junior after finishing runner-up in the same event last year.

“To win the Pro Junior and test my abilities against some of the world’s best juniors feels amazing,” Macedo said after the final.

“Now I’ll be back and forth between California and Maui to spend time at home while prepping for some amateur events and the Supergirl Pro (July 28-30 in Oceanside, California). I’m just beyond excited to win this event, and know I can compete against these girls at a high level.”

Then on June 23, Summer won the girls under 18 national title at the Surfing America Championships at Lower Trestles in San Diego County, California. She was awarded the Governor’s Cup, the highest amateur national trophy in the U.S. for girls and boys under 18.

Summer will compete in a few more Women’s QS 6000 (the highest-rated World Surf League qualifying events) for the remainder of 2017, but her main goal is to qualify for the World Surf League Junior World Championships in Australia early next year. Her last chance to qualify will be at the Turtle Bay Junior Pro on Oahu in October.

The airline noted, “The team at Mokulele is extremely proud of both Summer and her younger brother, Ocean, as they continue to grow and succeed in their sport.

“The Macedo family’s contribution to the Mokulele Airlines Surf Team is a testament to the commitment we all share to give back to the community, to stay surf focused and inspired.”

Additional team riders sponsored by Mokulele include Aloha Lopez, Brodi Sale, Cody Young, Levi Young, Dante Silva, Diego Ferri, Eli Hanneman, Dylan Franzman, Makana Franzman, Jackson Bunch, Kahanu Delovio, Kalaokahaku Willard, Keanu Taylor, Luke Swanson, Luke Heflin, Ocean Donaldson-Sargis, Tony Nunez, Rafi Kahili Neri, Cole Alves, Kai Paula and Paumalu Malone.

Based in Kona, Mokulele Airlines is a locally/family-owned and operated business. It currently operates more than 120 daily flights, with its staff now accounting for more than 250 employees in Hawaii, all located across four islands.

Routes currently include Honolulu Airport on Oahu; Kapalua, Kahului and Hana on Maui; Kona and Waimea on the Big Island; and Ho’olehua Airport in Molokai. In addition, Mokulele provides Mainland service between Imperial/El Centro, Santa Maria, and Los Angeles, California.

For information, visit www.mokuleleairlines.com.