News: The fourth time’s a charm: Waves roll in for Kuau Rockin’ Surf Competition on MCB Hawaii
Story by Cpl. Reece Lodder
After three straight weekends of poor waves, surfers found the swells they’d been looking for at the Kuau Rockin’ Surf Competition on Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Pyramid Rock Beach, Oct. 31, 2010.
It was originally scheduled for Oct. 9.
“This is the first time we’ve used most of the holding pattern for a competition,” said Dino Leonard, assistant manager, Marine Corps Community Services Aquatics. “Due to the changing of the seasons, October is one of the hardest months from which to pick a competition date. When you’re juggling holidays and block leave, however, it’s one of the best times to hold a contest and still have waves.”
Early on the competition morning, the first heat of young short board surfers hit the water under an already blazing sun. Beginning with the first of five age groups — males age 17 and under — approximately 50 surfers progressed through their heats before concluding with the males age 45 and over age group. Likewise, the female short board surfers competed among three age groups.
“We have year-round conditions here, so any time [outside competitors] are able to come on base to surf, it’s a special day for them,” Leonard said. “It’s definitely a privilege for them to be able to participate.”
Despite smaller waves during the morning heats, the conditions improved and size of the waves increased. Short board heats concluded, and men and women’s open long board heats kicked off. Competitors, young and old alike, took advantage of the improved conditions.
“Patience is the name of the game,” said Billy Domingo, founder of Ainoskedu, a local sports apparel brand and competition sponsor. “The organizers waited this long to hold the competition, and now the surfers are really able to show their skills because of today’s conditions. For a windward ‘da kine’ competition, these conditions are great.”
While a number of service members competed, most of the surfers came on base from within the local community. For many of the avid surfers, it was a rare opportunity to surf with friends in exceptional conditions, without having to share the waves with crowds.
Apart from these opportunities, several of the younger competitors marveled at the opportunity to surf alongside service members. Sixteen-year-old competitor Justin Burbage said he often hits Pyramid Rock Beach’s waters during the week. Nonetheless, the competition among service members on base was his first.
“It’s cool to have a chill surf session with the guys that are out there putting their lives on the line for our country,” said Burbage, of Kaneohe, Hawaii.
Building a healthy relationship and mutual understanding between the two communities may be a challenge, but finding a strong, common bond in surfing can help mesh them together.
“Being on base helps civilians understand and appreciate the sacrifices service members make,” said Domingo, of Kailua Kona, Hawaii. “The reason we decided to sponsor the competition was because it allows us to bring our military and local communities together to mingle. Without the military, we wouldn’t be able to surf in these waters.”
The waves raged on, final heats concluded, and judges deliberated, leaving the competitors to dry out on shore. First place winners were awarded framed photographs by sponsor Ron Johnson; second place earned prize packs from sponsor Planet Sun; and the remaining winners were presented trophies from Ainoskedu.
Lance and Seaana Gentry, respectively, won the men and women’s open long board categories.
This work, The fourth time’s a charm: Waves roll in for Kuau Rockin’ Surf Competition on MCB Hawaii, by Sgt Reece Lodder, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.