HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige has announced that beginning June 1, the state is lifting the suspension of ocean sports competitions.
Organizers say this is an exciting moment for kids and their families who have been waiting to get back to competitive surfing in Hawaii.
“Once COVID kicked in, and we went onto a pandemic shutdown, we were unable to be in the ocean and running surfing competitions for these kids. So, you know, they were stuck at home and they weren’t able to travel. They weren’t able to surf events, see their friends, and do those things,” said Assistant Director Miko Parker of the National Scholastic Surfing Association Hawaii. “It was unfortunate that we weren’t able to run many events for our season, but we worked with a program in the mainland where the kids were still surfing and still being able to hold competitions.”
If they get the necessary permits, NSSA Hawaii is hoping to have competitions this year for kids.
“We do contests on all the islands, so we travel to run contests. I go to Maui, Big Island, Kauai to do events. So this will be a really big thing for a lot of our kids, and hopefully, we’ll be able to get some contests running for the summer,” said Parker.
The Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association also had to cancel races when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now, many paddlers are looking forward to seeing each out in the water.
“It opens the door. More people can come back to canoe paddling, whereas it was only a limited amount of people,” said OHCRA Race Director Luana Froiseth.
The organization says it’s not going to have a regatta at this point because it takes a lot of time, practice and planning.
“We’re going to come together and we’re going to see what we can salvage for at least maybe the month of July, August and September, and see if we can do some kind of races for the youth in distance and also the adults in distance racing,” said Froiseth.
U.S. Senator Brian Schatz said in a statement: “Surfing and outrigger canoe paddling are so much more than sports. They are a part of our culture and a way of life. I look forward to seeing our kids out in the water competing in surf contests and regattas again.”
Senior Manager, Operations, and Marketing Robin Erb of the World Surf League also released a statement: “Health and safety protocols have allowed the WSL to complete events around the world during the pandemic, from small regional competitions to the global Championship Tour. We’re excited that Hawaii will soon safely resume surfing and ocean sports events, while remaining in line with CDC, state, and local COVID guidance.”