Some of the biggest names in surfing will saddle up and play polo at the "Ride to Survive" Hawai'i Children's Cancer Foundation benefit on Sunday, Oct. 27, at the Maui Polo Club in Makawao.
This will be the first event of its kind when surfing and polo converge.
The surfers are "super stoked" to compete on behalf of keiki who have survived cancer and those who are fighting it. It will be a fun opportunity for the surfers to try their hand at another sport they could easily get hooked on.
But one surfer has some prior polo experience. Big wave surfer Nakoa DeCoite grew up playing polo with his dad, Herman-Louis DeCoite, and older brothers, Ka'aina, and Ka'eo, who will also play at the benefit.
Nakoa is looking forward to sharing the field with his surf buddies. "I'm glad I can help out a good cause and laugh at my friends at the same time," he said.
Also in the lineup are Jamie Sterling, Paige Alms, Pete Cabrinha, Francisco Porcella, Marlon Lewis, Sierra Emory, and Juan Gomez.
Alms has been practicing every week to get ready for the big game.
"It's so much fun!" said Alms. "I haven't been on a horse in years, so getting the hang of it again took a little bit. It's been a challenge learning how to hit the ball while riding a horse! I am so stoked I got invited to be a part of this and can't wait for the game. It's going be hilarious! To be involved in doing something so fun and raising awareness and money for the Hawai'i Children's Cancer Foundation truly is unreal! I hope we have a big crowd, because it'll be classic watching us 'attempt' to play polo!"
Four surfers will be on each team, playing two chukkers, periods of play that are each seven-and-a-half minutes long. The players will hold the mallet in their right hand, lean over the horse while swinging and hitting the ball to their goal, all doing this at a gallop. On defense, they can hook the other player's mallet to prevent the opponent from hitting the ball and can ride the other person off making full-on contact, which is called a bump.
Immediately following the "Ride to Survive" match, the best polo players on Maui will compete in the Abbie DeCoite Memorial Ilima Cup, which will be a very fast and exciting game.
Hawai'i Children's Cancer Foundation is the only organization in the State of Hawai'i dedicated exclusively to providing services to children with cancer. The foundation also provides a wide range of services and programs to their families, including financial assistance, support groups, social events, education and advocacy.
For more information, visit www.hccf.org and #icancervive.
Event organizers would like to thank the DeCoite family for putting the event together as a special dedication to Coral DeCoite's son, Azure, a cancer survivor.
For more information about polo on Maui, visit Facebook.com/HawaiianHurricanePolo and Mauipoloclub.com.