What’s expected to be the 33rd and final running of the China Uemura Longboard Surfing Classic came to a close Sunday at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki.
A Summer staple in the islands, thousands of surfers of all ages have taken part in the event over the years which has raised more than $200,000 to local charities and provided immeasurable amounts of aloha to residents and visitors of the islands. So it was only appropriate that on the event’s final day, that love was returned to the man known as Uncle China.
“33 years and I was planning on retiring and it’s really hard to give up something that you love, and I cherish this and a lot of kids learned from this event. A lot of them turned out pros, advancing their life out on the streets and having good jobs. So it doesn’t only (provide) things about surfing,” Uemura told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello, Sunday.
“I’d like to go and take care of my health though, and I’d like to thank all the guys that came up to me and tell me, because I apologized for the small waves, but they told me, ‘China, the waves was big, the waves was small, we don’t care. We just came here for you braddah.’ That’s a really good feeling. Everybody at this event made that happen. It’s not me, it’s everybody that comes to my event. So, thank you everyone. I feel so proud of all the Hawaii people with the support,” added Uemura.
After battling heart complications in recent years, Uemura says that there is a chance that he could assist in a very limited role if family or colleagues take over the event. However, as it stands, today marked as his final event which includes his Wahine Surfing Classic.
China, along with his family also passed this message along prior to the summer surf season to the countless people who have helped with the legendary waterman’s events over the years.
“Many thanks to our Surfing Ohana in Hawaii, the mainland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and many other places around the world! You’ve touched our lives at different times and different ways! Thank you for your kindness and generosity. It’s been an unforgettable journey for China and our Uemura Ohana! Your thoughtfulness, words of inspiration and generous gifts (sponsorships and donations) have meant so much to us to continue our Annual China’s Wahine Surfing Classic and China’s Longboard Surfing Classic!
This year, we will no longer continue China’s Wahine Surfing Classic, which we would like to thank everyone for all your support for the last 20 years! This year we plan to retire and plan China’s 33rd Annual Longboard Surfing Classic on July 27, 28, 29, & 30, 2017 for the last year! A Big Mahalo and Thank You for all the Good Times, Good Friends, and Happy Memories at China’s Surfing Classics, which were Annual Events held at Kuhio Beach, Waikiki! Stay Safe, God Bless Everyone, Enjoy Life, and We’ll see you in the Ocean or on the Beach!”
The Uemura Ohana:
China & Fran; Kanoe, Justin, Kayde, Emery, Loli; & Kekoa & Karisa