Lahainaluna topples Baldwin for surfing crown

Kaimana Kinimaka won the final heat of the day to help Lahainaluna edge Baldwin at the 19th Maui Interscholastic Surf Championship on Saturday at Hookipa Beach Park.

Lahainaluna led the eight-team field with 196 points, Baldwin was second (187), followed by King Kekaulike (181).

Kinimaka, a senior, won the longboard final despite battling pneumonia. The exhausted Kinimaka didn’t even stay for the awards ceremony. He didn’t know he or the team had won until he was reached at his home by phone. Kinimaka surfed eight heats during the contest. He also placed third in shortboard.

“It felt good to hear we won,” Kinimaka said. “I didn’t surf for me, it was for the team. I’m drained, but stoked.”

The Lunas had two other champions; Nainoa Steward, in bodyboard, and Sierra Lerback claimed her third straight longboard title.

Steward also was recognized for his grade-point average at the meet.

“The honor roll award made winning even better,” Steward said.

Lerback claimed her third straight longboard title with smooth cutbacks and classic nose-riding. But she fell short in her attempt to win her third straight shortboard title. Baldwin’s Kulia Doherty won the shortboard; Lerback was third.

For Doherty, it was her first major win since moving back to Maui in January after two years in California.

“It was amazing to win,” Doherty said. “I’ve had kind of a rivalry with Sierra since the S Turns days, over 10 years ago. She beat me at the Legends of the Bay contest (in February).”

Kain Daly, of Kihei Charter, won the boys shortboard. He also won two years ago when he attended King Kekaulike. His winning wave included a completed backside reverse.

“It was one of my last waves,” Daly said. “I threw something out there, I wanted to change it up a bit.”

The other champion was Baldwin’s Maile Anderson in girls bodyboard.