Gymnasts, surfers ready for showcase

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Coaches Mark Bonilla, Lani Johnson, Rhea Ventura, and Jack Leonard show off members of Kauai Gymnastics who will be competing in Las Vegas, including Maddison Hubbard, Savannah Hubbard, Kamaile Manibog, Madison Welsh, Haley Zina, Ashlyn Questin Ashley Ricciardi, Mia Ricciardi-Elite (missing Hi‘ilawe Banasihan) in their competition wear. The athletes will also be in action, Sunday during the 13th annual exhibition at the Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A member of the Kauai Gymnastics Kula Team shows off the Las Vegas competition outfit during practice, Wednesday night at the Puhi facility.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    A member of the Kauai Gymnastics Kula Team dons a floatie during one of the routines, Wednesday during practice at the Puhi facility.

PUHI — When the more than 35 gymnasts take the mats at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Kukui Grove Center, they will be joined by two-time World Champion tandem surfers Kalani Vierra and Krystal Apeles.

“This is to show how the world champions use gymnastics in their training,” said Coach Jack Leonard of the Kauai Gymnastics Academy. “They have a special board they use to work on balance and moves, and they will also demonstrate balance. They will also be available for autographs following the presentation.”

In addition to the tandem surfers, gymnasts will take to the air in a “Surf City” theme with a medley of tumbles, flips, cartwheels, and more. Did you ever see a gymnast fly with a floatie?

Team members from the Iki Hui, the Hoku Hui, and the Kula Hui range in age from 6 through 17 years old and will show off the results of working out between two to six hours a week, depending on their respective skill levels, at the Puhi facility.

The Kula Hui is made up of gymnasts who are scheduled to compete in Las Vegas, Nevada, later in 2018. The group includes one high school senior, Mia Ricciardi-Elite, Maddison Hubbard, Savannah Hubbard, Kamaile Manibog, Madison Welsh, Haley Zina, Ashlynn Questin, Ashley Ricciardi, and Hi‘ilawe Banasihan.

“They’re excited,” Leonard said. “When I told them we were going to pick out the competition leotards, it was crazy, like girls going to Claire’s, a shop at the Kukui Grove Center for a big sale.”

Additionally, performances will be done by Lani Johnson, a coach with the Hoku Hui, and a Kauai Gymnastics member since the facility opened 13 years ago. Angela Rhey Ventura, a coach with the younger gymnasts, will also be competing in Las Vegas as well as coaching.

This is a good way to take a break from shopping and rest the feet, said Kaye Leonard of the Kauai Gymnastics Academy.

“Sit down and enjoy the beauty and excitement of gymnastics and tandem surfing,” she said. “You’ll be glad you did.”

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