During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, the archery competition sparked an interest in the sport across the United States. In Hawai‘i, archery has been steadily growing into what Archery Hawai‘i calls, “Hawai‘i’s newest sport sensation.” Junior Matthew Schaefer, an avid archer, will be participating in the upcoming 2020 SoCal Showdown in San Diego for one of the three spots in the U.S. Youth Team that will compete in the World Archery Youth Championships.
“I do have a bit of anxiety as there is a lot riding on my shoulders, but I just love going out there and showing what Hawai‘i archers can do,” said Schaefer.
With archery on the rise, many outfitters such as Archery Hawai‘i and Everything Archery provide a venue for those interested in archery. While archery has only recently been growing across the islands, archers such as Schaefer have deeper roots in the sport. Schaefer learned archery when he was six from his grandfather.
“At first we just went to the outdoor range and shot a few arrows at the targets. As I continued to go to the range, I met other archers and fell in love with the sport,” said Schaefer.
In regards to the upcoming SoCal Showdown, all archers will be free to participate and compete. The archers will shoot 12 ends (a round of normally six arrows) at 70 meters with a possible maximum score of 720 points. The top eight will then move onto the second round.
“Every point counts, because in the end one point can make all the difference,” said Schaefer.
To prepare for competitions, Schaefer practices daily and shoots around 150 to 250 arrows. Schaefer normally practices at an outdoor range at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park and an indoor range downtown.
During his time playing the sport, Schaefer has come across his fair share of challenges, one of which was finding the right group of people to practice and compete with.
“I had previously been a part of a club for a few years. When I started becoming more competitive, I felt this club did not support my style of shooting, so I decided to leave,” said Schaefer. “Since then, I have moved on to shoot my own style and through that, I was able to get a few sponsors.”
Another challenge said Schaefer was the location and availability of the national ranking competitions, which are in the mainland and require a lot of time and distance.
As for his future in archery, Schaefer has recently been selected to be a part of the Southwest Regional Elite Development R.E.D team for the United States for the second year in a row. His future plans are to eventually move on and shoot for the United States team in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.