HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Surf competitions statewide have been canceled amid the pandemic and high school contests are still in question.
But one Iolani School student is determined to save the surf season.
Surfing is Sunny Kazama’s passion. The 15-year-old Iolani sophomore has been hitting the waves since she was 3 years old.
“Just that feeling of being on a wave. I know when I’m stressed at school I say, ‘oh I gotta’ go surfing”, said Kazama.
So when her parents told her there might not be a surf season, she had only one reaction.
“Let’s do a fundraiser!”
Since surfing’s not an official high school sport, schools must raise their own funds to hold contests.
Sunny sent letters to companies asking for donations. Her parents designed a shirt with help from Aloha Revolution’s Ed Sugimoto.
“This was my first fundraiser, so I had low expectations. My goal was $1,000.”
Sunny surpassed that and raised $7,000.
“You have to pay for set up, surfboard equipment and lifeguards. All the surfers and coaches have to get lifeguard training,” explained Kazama.
She and her parents are touched by the tremendous support from the community.
“A donor told us, it’s amazing the things you can accomplish when you just do something. It’s amazing how much support you’ll get when you step up and do something,” said Davin Kazama.
“It’s just inspiring to see that work being done by someone in high school and even more so to help her fellow high school students,” added Ray Shito, of the Hawaii Surfing Association.
Shito says so far four schools are committed for this season, which starts in late October and runs through March.
“I’m so happy to say you know, we did it, we saved the surf season!” said Kazama.
You can still donate at saveourseason.com. The extra funds will be rolled over to the next season.
Sunny knows now it’s just a matter of the city allowing the high school surf contests to run. She says she’s crossing her fingers and staying positive.
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