The waves were big and spirits high at the 18th annual Shane Dorian Keiki Classic held Saturday at Holualoa Bay in Kailua-Kona.
Some of the biggest waves spectators said they’ve seen in years rolled in to Lyman’s surf spot offering youngsters a great ride — occasionally on waves reaching 12 to 14 feet — during the competition sponsored by the pro surfer and Billabong. Approximately 50 youngsters, 17 years old and younger, took part in the free event, which was divided into age groups: 13 and under and 14 to 17.
Previously held at Banyans surf spot, the surf competition this year was relocated to Lyman’s, just south of Banyans, to ensure a safer ride for the participants after the National Weather Service in Honolulu forecast 10- to 15-foot waves for the Kona and Kohala coasts through 6 a.m. today, said Dorian. Also present were lifeguards and water patrol jet skis to help the kids, if needed.
The young surfers who took part in the competition paid no cash entry fee, but they were required to bring three cans of food to donate to the Hawaii Island Food Basket. They also had to submit their most recent report card to prove they have a minimum 2.25 grade point average to enter — a requirement that Dorian said is important and gives an incentive to do well in school.
“It’s something (the kids) get to look forward to and work hard for all year,” he said.
Each keiki who took part in the competition, even if they chose not to surf Saturday because the waves were too big, received a contest T-shirt, lunch, a bag full of surf goodies and a chance to win an array of awards, including surfer of the year. They also got to take part in autograph session.
This year’s Shane Dorian Keiki Classic was held in memory of several well-known to the surfing world: Pro surfer Andy Irons, Kona waterman Clement “Junior” Kanuha, Kona waterman Delta Thompson and pro surfer Sion Milosky.
Dorian is no stranger to Kailua-Kona have been born and raised in the area; later graduating from Konawaena High School in 1990. The 16-year pro surfer, who’s earned numerous accolades, resides in Holualoa when home on the Big Island, according to Billabong and Dragon Alliance, two of his sponsors.
Results will be published when made available.