Rain clouds made way for sunshine the morning of Aug. 10 for the 2nd Annual Live Like Sion GromFest on Kauai. Held at PK's on the south side of the island, the event celebrated the honor and birthday of Sion Milosky, beloved waterman, surfer, husband and father. The grassy beach park was filled with pop-up tents, towels, surfboards and everything else that makes for a good day at the beach, as friends and ohana gathered to enjoy the weather and waves of Hawaii and remember Milosky's legacy.
The surf contest focused primarily on the keiki, with age divisions ranging from "push-ins" to 12 and under. The special "pili" (intertwined) class allowed a 12-and-under surfer and an adult to surf in separate heats and use their top two scores to create a total team score. This innovative division was designed with Milosky in mind and helped to share his love for enjoying the ocean with friends and family. He always believed in putting family first, and this event is a true reminder of the legacy he's left behind.
An even bigger success than last year, this second-annual event boasted raffle tickets with awesome prizes such as Kauai helicopter tours, zip-lining, kayak adventures, restaurant certificates, jewelry, skateboards and more. Maile Botelho's daughter, Kahea, ended up winning the Grom of the Day award for her help throughout the contest and for her overall amazing attitude. For her effort, Kahea was awarded a brand-new Scovel Surfboard, shaped by Kauai boy Will Scovel.
The lively awards ceremony was held at Poipu Beach Park, with food and fun continuing until sunset. T-shirts, hats and stickers were sold throughout the event, with proceeds going to help local charities.
This free event is designed first and foremost to honor and celebrate Milosky, who drowned on March 16, 2011, while surfing Maverick's in Half Moon Bay, Calif., leaving behind a wife and two kids. But secondly, the contest helps promote the underrated surfing keiki of Kauai. Contest director Milo Murgia speaks about the mission behind the contest, saying he and Suzi Milosky agreed to aim toward this group.
"They don't really get a platform to start on because if they enter a contest and end up losing, it costs a lot of money for the parents and detours the kid," says Murgia. "Let's have this contest for the kids that don't always make the finals, the kids that don't ever do contests."
While he says a good part of the event is the surf competition, the larger picture is all the friends and ohana coming together to spend a day living like Sion.
"You can see how influential he was on so many people; we're basically trying to shed a light on what his life was really about," continues Murgia. "His family came first and surfing was also important, but he somehow found a balance in life between the two and incorporated them together."