The following article was written by Hawaiian Kā’eo Awana. The photographs were captured by local photographer Philip Kitamura. Thanks to Sean Enoka and the boys for their collaboration.
Mākaha beach bared 5-6’ waves (Hawaiian scale), or 10-12ʻ faces on the day of the Mākaha Bodysurfing Classic. The waves broke from the outside point and marched into the backwash infested shorebreak. The expressions on each competitor varied from pale intimidation to ragged anticipation to anywhere in between. During check-ins, two ski’s were launched from the north end of the bay. Jet skis are a typical supplement for Mākaha lifeguards, except these weren’t lifeguard skis. To much of everyone’s excitement, the Hawaiian Water Patrol was present to ensure everyone safety. Furthermore, they would be providing assistance during heats to get competitors zoomed back out the point after catching waves. This was a pivotal moment for bodysurfing in Hawaiʻi. An average Saturday morning at Mākaha has 50+ people at the lineup with every type of surf craft under the sun. Competitors were not only able to bodysurf Mākaha at 6’ with 5 other people, but also with jet-ski assist. How can you put a price tag on this experience? With the sun peaking above the Waiʻanae mountain range, the air was buzzing with excitement.
Paipo Division- Paipo boards are typically wooden boards that take on various shapes and sizes, and have no leash. The word paipo derives from the traditional name of papa paepoʻo, which loosely translates to “board to catch waves head first.” Traditional papa paepoʻo riding looks more like bodysurfing than bodyboarding.
Mens Open Handboard – Handboard divisions required some type of handboard device. Handboard types ranged from daughter’s slippers to Kaha Nalu Bulaboards.
Handboard Final Results:
Women’s Open Handboard
Women’s Open Handboard Results:
Tandem Bodysurfing – The tandem division required two partners to be riding a wave at the same time to be judged.
Tandem Final Results:
Women’s Final Results:
Mens 50 & over
Mens 20 & under
20 and under Restults:
People who do not bodysurf often ask what the prizes are for winning a bodysurfing contest in Hawaiʻi. They expect to hear of lavish prizes, brand sponsorships, and cash that are commonly associated with the surfing industry. Most are shocked to hear that a trophy, fins, and clothing gear are typical bodysurfing contest prizes. To Hawaiʻi bodysurfers, contests serve as platform to gather bodysurfers to share the stoke of waveriding together rather than glory, fame, and riches. At these contests bodysurfers are able to reacquaint themselves with their friends, families, and meet fellow torpedo people from around the world. This is the ultimate prize of the contest; everything else is an added bonus. Contests naturally reveal winners and losers, but that is lost in the aloha that bodysurfers share with each other in Hawaiʻi bodysurfing contests. The first annual Mākaha Bodysurfing Classic was a success and raised the bar for bodysurfing contests.