KAILUA-KONA — Formed in the early 1960’s, the Hawaii Surfing Association has been introducing keiki and adults to the sport of competitive surfing. The Big Island has their own chapter of the HSA and the organization held its first meet of the new season on Saturday at Banyans off Alii Drive.
For Shawna Sale, one of many members of the Big Island HSA in charge of putting on each event, the parent led organization is a good way for kids to learn to “win and lose”, while competing with friends and learning how to “stay friends through it all.”
“Surfing is just like any other sport,” Sale said. “It may not necessarily be a team sport, but when you have to go out on the water and compete with friends, and then come back to the beach and stay friends, it creates a really cool community atmosphere.”
“Surfing in competition is also a great outlet for kids, “she added. “It is very humbling. You can go out and be at the top of your heat and then the next time go out and be at the bottom.”
At Banyans, the Big Island HSA divided competition into 13 divisions. There were roughly 80 entries, which totaled to about 50 participants, with many surfers entering multiple divisions.
The turnout was a welcomed change for the organization, which had to cancel its first competition of the year due to low turnout.
“We are starting a lot earlier in the summer this year and that probably had something to do with the turnout,” Sale said. “Today’s event was also down a little, but it was good for us to put it on to let people know we are going and organized.”
The Big Island HSA will host five events this season, one a month except for January. The final event will be in February.
Competitors are working to qualify for the state competition, which takes place in April on Oahu. The top four performances are totaled for each surfer and a rating is formed to determine who qualifies for states.
The next Big Island HSA event will take place on Sept. 15. Registration closes on Sept. 12. There are divisions for every age group and entry fee is $75.
For more information on the Big Island HSA, or to register for an event, visit hasasurf.org/hawaii-island-chapter/.