After its inaugural season, Maui Interscholastic League surfing is reflected well by Ginger Prados and Nainoa Steward.
Prados, a King Kekaulike High School sophomore, and Steward, a Lahainaluna senior, are the first winners of The Maui News MIL Surfer of the Year awards.
Prados was the only competitor to go through the three-meet season unbeaten, in girls bodyboard, while Steward won the first meet and the MIL crown in boys bodyboard despite a torn labrum in his hip that ended his wrestling season in February.
Nainoa Steward of Lahainaluna High School finished first in two Maui Interscholastic League bodyboarding contests this year, including the championship meet, despite a torn labrum in his hip.
RIC LARSEN photo
King Kekaulike High School bodyboarder Ginger Prados was the only Maui Interscholastic League competitor to go through the three-meet surfing season unbeaten.
RIC LARSEN photo
Steward put off surgery so he could be part of the world's first official high school surf season. He plans on a professional career in the sport, as does Lahainaluna senior Sierra Lerback, on the women's longboard tour. King Kekaulike freshman Cody Young, the MIL boys shortboard champion, also appears headed for pro surfing.
"There's a lot of talent out there," Steward said. "It's a very humbling experience to be the first MIL champ, the first Surfer of the Year for boys surfing. For me, to lose that second meet, and then come back, just more hungry, to take the win in the final, that's all that matters to me."
Steward is joined on the boys All-Star team by Young, Hana bodyboarder Joseph Pu and utility selection Klyde Neer and Seabury Hall shortboarder Ridge Lenny.
"I just feel blessed to have the chance to win it for my school, to be able to bring it back for Lahainaluna," Steward said. "They will always say: 'A kid from Lahainaluna was the first to ever win the boys bodyboard MIL championship.' There's no more that I can ask for. Our school has so much pride, oldest school west of the Rockies, it's just a blessing to be able to win for the school."
Prados is joined on the girls team by twin sister Amber Prados, who was second in bodyboard in all three meets, and a trio of Lunas - Lerback, Aloha Lopez and Rose Millard.
"I'm super stoked, that's pretty sick," Ginger Prados said of the award. "It was a lot of fun out there with my sister."
The Prados sisters aren't the only bodyboarders in the family.
"We have been doing it for seven or eight years," Ginger Prados said. "We watch our mom (April Prados) bodyboard, too. My dad (Zeke Prados) bodyboards on the shorebreak."
Before surfing became an official high school sport, the Maui Scholastic Surf Championships went on for 19 years.
"Last year, we didn't really get together, we didn't really train," Prados said. "This year we trained and we all got together. It was better this year."
Like Steward, Prados felt the school pride.
"I'm so stoked to represent King K," she said. "To be one of the only people to make it, to get first in all of the contests, was really cool."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org