Kimo’s inaugural Pioneers of Surfing Award issued to former professional surfer
To recognize the men and women whose contributions have propelled the great sport of surfing, Kimo’s Maui launched its inaugural Pioneers of Surfing Award this weekend. The award was presented to former professional surfer Laura Lee Blears at the restaurant on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022.
Blears was the first woman to compete against men at a professional level and the first woman to win a check at a pro-surfing event. She won the 1972 Makaha Invitational and became the first woman to compete in the Smirnoff World Pro-Am Surfing Championships in 1973. The world number one female surfer in 1973, Blears has paved the way for many of the sport’s greatest female athletes.
In 2023, the Pioneers of Surfing Award will be presented in conjunction with Kimo’s Annual Longboard Contest in May. Held in honor of Rob Thibaut, one of the two founders of T S Restaurants, the contest is open to all surfers riding nine to 11-foot, single-fin boards.
Others on hand at the event were: Fred Hemmings, American professional surfer, author and businessman; Jack Starr, Assistant General Manager of Kimo’s; and State Senator Angus McKelvey of West Maui.