Surfing will now be incorporated into public high school athletics programs in Hawaii. School sanctioned surf competitions will begin as early as the spring of 2013, under a plan announced by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the state Board and Department of Education and professional surfer Carissa Moore.

Hawaii will become the first state in the nation to sanction high school surfing.

According to reports, the state's Board of Education approved surfing as a high school sport back in 2004, but funding and other challenges have kept it from official status.

Working with the appointed state Board of Education, the DOE is
developing a plan to incorporate surfing in school athletics, with
collaboration from city officials, surfing organizations and the

“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,”
Abercrombie said. “Bringing surfing to our students is another step in
our collective goal to transform public education and provide our
children with rich and diverse educational opportunities.”

“Surfing will be an exciting addition for our students as we continue
to expand and improve educational programs to increase student
achievement,” Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said. “School sports
teach critical life lessons such as team work and goal-setting while
helping students stay active and healthy.”

The state Board of Education in May 2004 approved surfing – the
official individual sport of the state of Hawaii – as a high school
sport. Despite overwhelming support from parents and students, funding
and other challenges have kept surfing from becoming a fully-fledged
school sport.

The BOE and the DOE are working on an implementation blueprint to
make competitive school surfing a reality. The DOE intends to support
the sport with outside funding sources and consult community partners
and city officials to ensure that surf breaks are shared equitably and
safely. The BOE will support implementation processes that address

BOE member Keith Amemiya, a former executive director of the Hawaii
High School Athletic Association, said surfing will allow students to
learn about their environment and themselves. He said it also will
engage the community by fostering relationships and partnerships with a
new group of individuals and groups

“Surfing is a unique sport that often attracts athletes that may not
necessarily be interested in more traditional sports such as football,
basketball, baseball, and soccer. Therefore, we're confident that
surfing will increase athletics participation numbers,” Amemiya said. “In our view, the more students that engage in athletics and other after
school activities, the higher our student achievement rates will

Hawaii's Carissa Moore, who this summer became the youngest surfer
ever to win a professional surfing world title at age 18, joined
Abercrombie and education officials in celebrating the announcement.

“It will open doors for a lot of students,” she said, explaining that
surfing taught her important life skills such as to be perseverant,
manage time, and be organized.

The BOE and DOE will continue to discuss a plan to implement surfing
as a high school sport during the Board’s General Business Meeting
Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the Queen Liliuokalani Building in Honolulu.