The Kamehameha Surf Team won their first overall team National Championship at the at the 2014 National Scholastic of Surfing Association (NSSA) Interscholastic Championships this past weekend. The team comprised of native Hawaiian student-athletes from Kamehameha Kapālama and Maui campuses was the only squad from the islands, competing against 16 schools from North America. This was the first time in NSSA history that a team made up entirely of kanaka maoli surfers won the NSSA National Interscholastic Championship title. Led by Imaikalani DeVault, 16, and Cayla Moore, 17, the Kamehameha Surf Team narrowly beat San Clemente High 110-107... .
DeVault, who attends Kamehameha Maui, won the NSSA High School Varsity Boys division. This individual victory was a huge for the young Hawaiian because he has competed at the NSSA National Championships for six years, and the victory is his first National title.
“It was super cool because it was my first time winning (a NSSA national title) after seven years of doing Nationals,” he said. “I was super stoked being carried up the beach this time by the whole team and it was a super cool experience.”
DeVault was member of the Hawai‘i Junior Surf Team that just won the International Surfing Association World Junior Championships, and brought home gold medals to Hawaii. He said that his experience with the Hawaii Junior Surf Team helped him and his teammates support each other as a unit. Their teamwork was critical at the 2014 NSSA National Championships because the waves were very small and challenging he explained.
“It was pretty small, hard to surf and all over the place like a beach break so it was pretty hard, but it was fun when you got the good ones,” said DeVault of the conditions at Salt Creek. “It’s super different coming from Hawai‘i because the waves are more reef breaks and not too many beach breaks. [The reef breaks] are a lot more powerful and usually bigger. [Salt Creek was] one-foot and really weak so you have to adapt a lot and it takes some getting used to.”
Like DeVault, Cayla Moore also won her division, High School Varsity Girls, at the 2014 NSSA National Interscholastic Championship. After getting to the final heat for the past two years, this was the first time she won her division. Moore is the sister of reigning-Association of Surfing Professionals Women Champion, Carissa Moore, and felt that this individual and team victory helped her alleviate a lot of pressure.
“I definitely felt pressure [as Carissa Moore’s sister] before, but now that I’ve grown into my own skin I realize that I have a different path than my sister does,” explained Cayla. “I have to just do my own thing and be confident in my own surfing because it’s totally different. I learn a lot from my sister, how she surfs and prepares to go out surfing, but my approach is totally different with going to school. Before I would kind of compare myself, but now that I’m older I’m stoked to find my own path and it’s exciting.”
Cayla also plays water polo at Kamehameha Kapālama and used her experience with that aquatic sport with her approach to competitive surfing.
“[Water polo] definitely helped me get more aggressive in the lineup and my paddling,” she explained. “It also helped with the team aspect because I’m used to surfing individually, but being apart of another team and seeing how we all work together contributed to the surf team. I approached getting ready to go into a heat the same as being aggressive before a [water polo] game.”
For Cayla, who was a member of the Kamehameha Surf Team since her freshmen year, the 2014 NSSA National High School Team Championship is a proud victory because they are bringing home the title to the birthplace of waveriding.
“It feels awesome knowing that surfing came from Hawai‘i and we are bringing the [NSSA National High School Team championship] back to Hawai‘i, making everyone at home proud because a Hawaiian surf team has never won the title before,” beamed Cayla.
For the past five years, the Kamehameha Surf Team has been undefeated in the State of Hawai‘i and won the state championship every year. Head Coach Lea Arce, 36, who is a science teach at Kamehameha Kapālma was instrumental in forming the team and getting the current club-sport approved by the administration. This 2014 NSSA National High School Team is a dream realized for Arce.
“I actually started teaching in San Diego and I was curious that there were high school surf teams in California and I didn’t think a dream like [coaching the National High Schools surf team champions] would fall into my lap,” explained Coach Arce. “It’s been amazing to have the staff that we’ve had, the support of the community and these amazing kids that want to continue their education and build a program for the future generations.”
Although Gov. Neil Abercrombie named surfing as an official school sport in 2011, the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association has yet to implement a formal structure of events and competition format. Currently, OIA and ILH schools organize their surf teams as club sports and compete against each other under Hawai‘i Surfing Association. There were seven High School teams that competed in the 2013-14 HSA season. Coach Arce hopes that the Kamehameha Surf Team’s National High School Championship legitimizes the need for the State of Hawai‘i to create an Interscholastic surfing league next year.
“I’m very excited that the validation [of this NSSA High School Team National championship] is something I’ve been searching for a long time,” said Coach Arce. “I hope that this validates our team as a real surf team and that the national championship will open doors for other schools. It’s amazing because it has started: I got an email from Iolani and Punahou’s athletic directors and they are hearing the news and scheduling meetings. I’m hoping that with this championship it will solidify the need for surfing as an interscholastic sport in Hawai‘i. Surfing can be used as a way to motivate these young men and women in their culture, but also their passion for that ocean and land as another outlet in addition to the sports that are already offered at schools.”
- 2014 NSSA National High School Championship Results
1. Kamehameha Schools 110pts
2. San Clemente High (CA) 107 pts
3. Huntington Beach (CA) 100 pts
4. Carlsbad High (CA) 91 pts
5. Melbourne Beach (FL) 78 pts
6. Dana Hills (CA) 77 pts
7. Edison (CA) 58 pts
8. San Dieguito (CA) 54 pts
9. Mira Costa (CA) 53 pts
10. Newport Harbor (CA) 43 pts
11.San Augustine (NJ) 42 pts
12. Masaquan (NJ) 28
13. Ocean City (NJ) 27
14. Wall (NJ) 14
15. Marina (CA) 9
16. Morristown Beard (NJ) 4
Girls Varsity Shortboard: (Represents School, State)
1. Cayla Moore (Kamehameha, HI) 9.73
2. Maddie Peterson (Saint Augustine, NJ) 8.00
3. Julie Hernandez (Edison, CA) 6.50
4. Kylie Loveland (Carlsbad, CA) 6.27
5. Kealohi Sabate (Kamehameha) 5.87
6. Samantha Lamirand (San Dieguito, CA) 5.54
Boys Varsity Shortboard (Represents School, State)
1. Imai DeVault (Kamehameha) 15.06
2. Kei Kobayashi (San Clemente, CA) 10.50
3. Corey Howell (Melbourne, Fl) 10.26
4. Luke Marks (Melbourne, Fl) 9.90
5. Chris Murnane (Carlsbad, CA) 6.86
6. Kirk Weissinger (Huntington Beach, CA) 5.27
- Kamehameha Surf Team Roster
Kamehameha Surfers Boys Shortboard:
1. Imaikalani DeVault Grade 11
2. Charlie Akao Grade 11
3. Chasen Kim Grade 12 (just graduated)
4. Uapili Lucey Grade 12 (just graduated)
5. Paliku Victorino Grade 11
6. Kuio Young Grade 9
1. Cayla Moore Grade 11
2. Kealohi Sabate Grade 11
1. Kahia Walker Grade 10