Shaestin Grace wins first @YouGotThisKauai challenge

  • Courtesy of Seth Womble

    Muralists Seth Womble, Trysen Kanshige and Bethany Coma stand with the Jackson family in front of the “Ask Tutu” mural on the Kekaha Thrifty Mini Mart building. This is the second resilience-themed mural.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Shaestin Grace, the winner of the #RideTheWaveKauai grand prize, third from right, accepts his awards from Nannie Ann Apalla of The Kaua‘i Resilience Project, second from left, and Noelle Lau of Wilcox Health, far right, as judges Kalani Vierra, far left, David Hubbard, third from left, and Sara Miura of Deja Vu Surf Hawai‘i, second from right, look on at Kukui Grove Center.

LIHU‘E — Shaestin Grace, a student at Kaua‘i High School, became the first month’s winner of the @YouGotThisKauai social-media campaign by winning the grand prize in the #RideTheWaveKauai contest that ended in October.

Grace, who was judged by well-known surfing experts Kalani Vierra, David Hubbard and Malia Manuel, claimed his $250 prize sponsored by Hawai‘i Pacific Health-Wilcox Medical Center and presented by Noelle Lau.

“Sara Miura of Deja Vu Surf Hawai‘i learned about the contest, and jumped in to match the Wilcox contribution,” said Nannie Ann Apalla of the Kaua‘i Resilience Project of the Kaua‘i Planning &Action Alliance.

“With the contribution by Deja Vu, we are able to offer bonus challenges and prizes for those who enter to help incentive participation. There are more opportunities to win a prize.”

Grace, who loves to surf, was fortunate to have his video judged by some of high-caliber surf experts, including Vierra, who is director of the Kaua‘i Fire Department Ocean Safety Bureau, a Waterman Hall of Fame inductee and a seven-time tandem surfing world champion.

The judging panel included pro surfer Manuel, who at 14 years old became the youngest-ever female or male to win the U.S. Open of Surfing. She is currently ranked in the top 10 best female surfer, in the world. Hubbard is a pro bodyboarder with eight drop-knee world titles, and is a co-founder of Hubboards.

“We want to congratulate all of our @YouGotThisKauai contestants,” said Alice Luck, president and CEO of KPAA.

“This contest is an opportunity for our community to celebrate our youth, their resilience during this remarkably challenging year, and their willingness to share their gifts and aloha with us. We also want to extend thanks to our partners — Hawai‘i Pacific Health, Deja Vu Surf and Life’s Choices Kaua‘i — for making this possible. We look forward to offering exciting challenges each month from now through June of next year.”

The @YouGotThisKauai campaign is an island-wide, ongoing, monthly-challenge contest on Instagram for Kaua‘i students ages 13 years and older. The campaign was developed by the Kaua‘i Resilience Project committee in response to the immediate need for safe, out-of-school activities for youth.

“We wanted to find a creative way to get our youth connected and engaged despite the challenges we are facing due to COVID-19 restrictions,” said Apalla, the Keiki to Career program manager.

“We know how important staying connected is to our youth. The @YouGotThisKauai, monthly challenge contest provides a platform for our youth to connect and engage in safe, out-of-school activities with their peers. It’s also an opportunity for organizations and local businesses to engage with our youth by collaborating on an upcoming, monthly-themed challenge,” she said.

November’s contest, with a Nov. 30 deadline, is #ArtisLifeKauai, focused on art and mental health.

“We’ve partnered up with Seth Womble and Trysen Kaneshige — creators of the Hope mural on the Tanaka building in Lihu‘e — as our contest judges,” Apalla said.

“We ask contestants to submit their best artwork interpretation of ‘What does Showing Your Aloha to Others Mean to You?’ The grand-prize winner will have a chance to collaborate with Seth and Trysen in designing and painting the Kapa‘a skate park bathroom in addition to the Wilcox-Medical-Center-sponsored $250. Other entry prizes are being sponsored by Life’s Choices Kaua‘i.”

Womble and Kaneshige teamed with Bethany Coma to recently complete the second resilience-themed mural, “Ask Tutu,” on the walls of the Kekaha Thrifty Mini Mart building, through the support from the Kaua‘i Resilience Project, the KPAA and a Kupa‘a Kaua‘i grant from the County of Kaua‘i.

“This was an exceptional opportunity to bring some new public art to Kekaha, as well as involve some community members,” Womble said. “This mural concept encourages us to ask our elders, uncles and aunties about what they’ve been through. They are our testament to resiliency. They have been through some incredibly tough times. Take a moment, share a meal, listen — you will be amazed.”

December’s challenge contest that starts Dec. 1 will focus on climate change, Apalla said.

“We’ve partnered up with Leadership Kaua‘i’s Youth Climate Challenge Team for the December #YourPlanetNeedsYouKauai challenge contest. The grand prize is valued at $250, sponsored by HPH-Wilcox Medical Center,” she said.

@YouGotThisKauai contests will continue to run through June 2021.

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