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Monday, July 28, 2014         

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TripAdvisor is trippin' about Honolulu's rep

By Erika Engle

POSTED:



Our beachy burg is among the winners of the 2011 Travelers' Choice Beaches Awards by TripAdvisor.com.

Honolulu, which it calls "a legendary surfing destination," ranks seventh in the U.S. and 24th in the world.

OK, so all positive, visitor-enticing, state-budget-and-business-supporting attention for Hawaii is welcome, but one would think TripAdvisor might pay more attention to detail in the interest of its own street cred. Hono­lulu? A legendary surfing destination? Seriously?

TripAdvisor did not reply to a request for clarification.

Honolulu does have many surf spots throughout its many ZIP codes, according to an Oahu map book and a conversation with an expert. Nevertheless, it would seem that either the town has been mischaracterized — or the term "legendary surfing destination" has been misappropriated.

"Those guys are goofy," quipped Hawaii News Now weather anchor and longtime surf nut Guy Hagi.

Heading toward Honolulu from the actually legendary surfing destination known as the North Shore, Hono­lulu's surf breaks include Pipe Littles, Half Point and Sandy's off Queen's Gate. Continuing out watery, townward trek, spots include Lighthouse, Tongg's and Old Man's rounding Diamond Head crater, then one passes through all the Waikiki spots to Ala Moana Bowls and out to Point Panic and Flies, off Kakaako.

As Honolulu ZIP codes extend further toward Ewa, "there are spots outside of Sand Island," Hagi said. "The water quality is an issue," given sewage outfall a mile offshore and because "it tends to be a little sharky," he said. Surf breaks also exist offshore from Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, but those are "not well documented," Hagi said.

"Any time you go west of Kewalo Basin, the water's weird." Break walls, increased boating and greater ocean depth make for less than ideal conditions, so "not too many guys surf out there. … The wave quality's not that good."

But not all Hawaii visitors surf, TripAdvisor rightly noted. "Even if you don't know a boogie board from a surfboard, you'll find a beach here that appeals to you." Visitors lured by that phrase just might also manage to find a beach to suit them outside of Hono­lulu. Just sayin'.

NEW ISLAND MART FOR KANEOHE

The former 7-Eleven store on Kame­ha­meha Highway, near Likelike Highway in Kane­ohe, will be succeeded by an Aloha Island Mart convenience store early next year. It will operate alongside the still-open Aloha Petroleum Ltd. gas station, and yes, the company has another Aloha Island Mart and gas station a few doors down.

How the company came to have operations so close to one another is unclear. It has had long-term leases for both neighboring properties for about 20 years, so long that discerning chicken from egg is difficult, said Larry Adams, director of sales and marketing. "Aloha had recently renewed the lease on the station property (by 7-Eleven), and the landlord offered us the opportunity to lease the store so that they could consolidate the leases," he said.

"This new Kaneohe store is part of Aloha's overall plans to expand its fuel and convenience store operations," he said. Its Monsarrat Avenue location reopened Saturday after a stem-to-stern remodel, and a ground-up rebuild of its gas station and convenience store adjacent to Kahala Mall is under way, as is construction of new gas stations and c-stores that will open on Maui and in Kailua-Kona by June.

———

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.






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