HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii will soon become the first state in the nation to call surfing an official high school sport.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state education officials said Monday that riding the waves will join the likes of football, basketball, volleyball and swimming as a state-sanctioned prep sport in public schools, starting as early as spring 2013.
“It’s quite clear, when you think of Hawaii, you think of surfing,” Abercrombie said with a scenic backdrop of sunbathers and surfers along Waikiki beach behind him. The news conference was held near the statue of island icon Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic gold medal swimmer known as the father of modern surfing.
“Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing. 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,” the governor said.
The Aloha State is known for its world-class surf breaks and competitions. It is home to many pro surfers and has produced several world champions including Hawaii’s Carissa Moore, who this summer became the youngest world champion at 18.
“I think it’s awesome, and it will open doors for kids,” said Moore, who welcomed the announcement. She said the sport taught her many life lessons growing up, such as hard work, perseverance, and time management.
“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.”