Surfing will be joining the likes of football, basketball, volleyball and swimming as a high school sport in the Aloha State, as soon as spring 2013.
Hawaii is known for its world-class competitions and waves, and is home to many pro surfers as well as recreational wave breakers. Carissa Moore, who is the youngest world champion at 18, said the move to make the sport an after-school activity is “overdue.”
See Carissa Moore and other world-class surfers here
“I went through high school without it being a part the sports curriculum,” she said. “It definitely was hard trying to find my own path and trying to convince my teachers that this is something that’s really important to me and trying to find time and all that.”
The state Dept. of Education is working with a newly appointed Board of Education to implement the sport into the nation’s only statewide public school system. Judging will be similar to that of pro meets, and there will be both individual as well as team champions, according to board member Keith Amemiya.
Amemiya said that it may interest kids who don’t partake in any of the 19 other sports –like football, baseball or soccer – that Hawaii’s public school system has to offer.
“In our view, the more students that engage in athletics and other afterschool activities, the higher our student achievement rates will become,” he said.
The announcement followed a news conference where Gov. Neil Abercrombie explained the link between riding the waves and the state’s culture.
“Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing,” Abercrombie said. “From Duke Kahanamoku to the thousands of residents and visitors who surf both recreationally and competitively, the sport is rooted in our culture and way of life.”
Moore said that the sport is valuable, and that it taught her many life lessons growing up, such as hard work, perseverance and time management, lessons that could benefit high schoolers.
“Surfing and riding a wave is so much like life. You fall down over and over again, but you keep picking yourself back up until you ride one all the way to the beach,” Moore said. “I know that’s kind of cheesy, but I think surfing is definitely a really good outlet for a lot of teens and young kids. It’s a way to channel a lot of energy into something positive. It’s just really awesome.”