For years, for decades, Kim Ball has been a pillar for youth sports here on the Valley Isle. He's been on the cutting edge of youth wrestling and surfing throughout the years as an entrepreneur for water sports with his Hi-Tech and Shapers businesses on Maui.
He has been instrumental in promoting windsurfing and surfing competitions for keiki. But one of his fondest dreams - the recognition of the regal Hawaiian sport of surfing as an officially sanctioned high school sport; an issue he had lobbied for throughout that time at the state legislature- had been stonewalled for some 20 years by a sorely misinformed Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
The HSAA, as well as junior surfing associations on the Mainland, were so paranoid about liability issues in surfing that they would only allow "club" status for the surf meets.
Despite statistical evidence of mounting injuries in cheerleading and football at the top of the Department of Education charts and the recognition of canoe paddling as a sanctioned high school sport in 2001, the governing decision-makers maintained an ignorant stance on the issue of surfing as an official sport in Hawaii and turned their backs on Duke Kahanamoku, Eddie Aikau, Rell Sunn and all the legends of this sport of kings.
Perhaps due to the ascendance of articulate soul surfers such as Gerry Lopez and, in recent years, Laird Hamilton and Bethany Hamilton, surfing has cut loose the perceived "renegade" reputation that had tarnished the sport in the past.
Today, the perception of teenage surfers has evolved into a more acceptable era. Indeed, for Kim Ball, the Duke, Eddie and the Queen of Makaha, the dream has become a reality. Surfing has been sanctioned as an official Maui Interscholastic League sport and began the first official season last Saturday, March 29, at a meet held at Lahaina Harbor.
This event is not only the first of its kind in Hawaii, but all across the nation.
"Really, I don't think the kids have any idea of how monumental this is," said Lahainaluna High School coach Luke Adolfson in The Maui News last week.
Way to go, Kim, and thank you for all you have done for the children of Maui.