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LHS surf team members strive for success in the water and in academics

By Staff | May 3, 2018

Lahainaluna High School surf team athletes are rewarded for good grades through the Pomaikai Youth program.

LAHAINA – With a profound influence on the academic side of the student-athletes in their charge, the Lahainaluna High School surf team coaching staff has set a brilliant standard as mentors of the youth in our community.

Led by Luke Adolfson, the coaching staff comprised of Jason Runyon, Stephanie Falcone and Bryce Jacinto has partnered with the Pomaikai Youth program to inspire the Luna aqua athletes in their charge to strive for higher standards in both surfing competition and in academic endeavors.

“We’ve seen a top improvement in the kids’ GPA with the academic incentive program with the Pomaikai Youth group that blesses the kids with good grades and living life with integrity, focus and vision,” explained Coach Luke last week.

He described the incentive program that includes a custom made surfboard for a 4.0 grade point average, a $200 gift card to local surf shops for a 3.5 GPA, a $100 gift card for a 3.0 mark and a pizza party for a 2.5.

The collaboration of the Lahainaluna team and Pomaikai also worked at beach cleanups and circulated stickers to put on surfboards and boogie boards to remind them to be a blessing in the water and give someone a wave.

“As a team, this has been our best year yet,” said Coach Luke. “The weather conditions have been a challenge for practice, but the hard work of the student-athletes, coaches and parents has paid off for a successful season. It’s been fun to teach the fundamentals of surfing along with basic and advanced maneuvers and contest strategy that we coupled with video analysis.”

“We’ve also had an introduction to Junior Lifeguard Ocean Safety skills, first aid, CPR, swimming skills, respect for the ocean, the land and for each other. The kids have also done dry land conditioning, yoga, risk assessment and a breath holding course with Bobby Twitchell of Maui Spearfishing Academy that taught them how to hold their breath efficiently with confidence in big surf.”

According to Adolfson, the Luna surf team effort this year has been led by sophomore wahine ripper Madison Runyon, who has captured two first place finishes and a fourth as the program’s most committed student-athlete and a positive leader and example.

Freshman sensation bodyboarder George Rocha has made solid improvements in every contest to rise to a Red Tide championship in his home waters at Lahaina Harbor with the focus of a true athlete.

Runyon was joined by classmate Breauna Higgs on the girls team, while the boys roster included senior Ikaika Fraser; junior Ryan West; sophomores Kai Gatchell, Nalu Ho and Poailani Kawai Kauhane; and freshmen Rocha, Kenneth Bell, Julian Armstrong, Kendall Beam, Laakea Kauhane, Angelo Constantino and Mark David.

The team managers were Michael Peterson and Will Peniche.

Coach Luke concluded by sending the team’s gratitude to Hurley for their uniforms, Rudy King Designs for hats and T-shirts, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua for their support, and to all MIL officials, coordinators and coaches for a smooth season that “benefits so many kids island-wide.”