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Big crowds avoid Kaneohe sandbar as alcohol ban kicks in

By Michael Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 10:37 a.m. HST, Sep 03, 2012

From the minute boater Ed Meixsell pulled into the Heeia Kea Boat Harbor Sunday morning, he knew it wasn’t going to be a typical three-day weekend at the former party central known as the Kaneohe sandbar.

“We came first thing this morning and the parking lot was empty,” said Meixsell, who lives nearby. “The peak is usually around 2 p.m. and there are usually at least a hundred boats out by there. Today, there were maybe 20. It’s definitely the ban.”

In July, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources imposed a three-year ban on alcohol at the sandbar — Ahu o Laka — during the Labor Day, Independence Day and Memorial Day weekends. The state will monitor the effectiveness of the ban during the three-year period.

DLNR previously instituted a 120-day emergency ban on alcohol at the sandbar last year following the death of a 26-year-old man who was involved in a fight at the harbor.

“They made it too extreme,” said Meixsell. “Personally, I like the party atmosphere. I didn’t see any of the problems they said existed. But it is what it is. I don’t agree (with the ban) but I will abide by it.”

That seemed to be the consensus of the few recreational boaters who did make it out the sandbar Saturday.

“Someone died, so I understand them wanting to do something up to a point,” said Kanoa Burgess, a frequent visitor to the sandbar. “I just think they went too far.”

Burgess said a typical three-day weekend would find cars overflowing the parking lot and visitors and locals alike lining the pier in hopes of catching a ride with a departing boat.

By late afternoon Saturday, only a half-dozen boats remained near the sandbar.

“It’s like a desert out there,” said Kaneohe resident Kaipo Shiroma. “I think the ban is a waste of money. They could have avoided this by enforcing the laws they already have for underage drinking, which is the real problem out here. Why stop local people from having a good time because of the stupidity of some young kids? I think DLNR is just trying to make their own job easier, even if it means taking away something that people have enjoyed safely for a long time.”

A DLNR spokeswoman said that, as off late Sunday afternoon, no citations had yet been issued at the sandbar this Labor Day weekend.

At the Mokuluas off Lanikai, meanwhile, state officers cited two people for bringing dogs to the bird sanctuary, and a camper was told to leave, she said.

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Pocho wrote:
gotta say the ban worked though.
on September 2,2012 | 08:59PM
Anonymous wrote:
people are allowed to drink and do drugs on all other days...
on September 3,2012 | 08:25AM
allie wrote:
It is a very lawless, sexist place I hear
on September 3,2012 | 01:22PM
SueH wrote:
Oh sure! Rain on the boozer's parade, so they just go party elsewhere. What's DLNR to do??? Patrol EVERY beach? No State Regulation will ever stop the sale of Heinekin!!
on September 2,2012 | 09:15PM
bobbob wrote:
i think the ban during holiday weekends only is a fair compromise. Holiday weekends have the greatest potential for these parties to get out of control. But it's still allowed the other weekends, so it isn't a total draconian measure....
on September 2,2012 | 11:25PM
bender wrote:
Excellent observation. I wonder if Kanoa Burgess, Ed Meixsell, or Kaipo Shiroma understand that they can go out there next weekend and drink if they choose to.
on September 3,2012 | 05:47AM
koolau wrote:
Keep the ban in place and leave the sandbar as a place where boaters can bring their families without concern for out-of-control drinkers. As mentioned above, it's a very fair compromise and I'm sure Kanoa, Ed, Kaipo and others who have children, can understand the concern they should have when exposed to the roudiness of a few.
on September 3,2012 | 06:43AM
peanutgallery wrote:
No broken necks this year from people diving into 12"'s of water. That's a plus
on September 3,2012 | 04:34AM
PaloloValley wrote:
on September 3,2012 | 02:53PM
nippy68 wrote:
just stay home and drink whats wrong with that? ohhhhhh yeah....sorry no chicks in bikinis getting wasted...
on September 3,2012 | 07:02AM
sweetness613 wrote:
on September 3,2012 | 01:58PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Wow, imagine how nice it would be with a permanent ban.
on September 3,2012 | 08:15AM
Maleka50 wrote:
A real shame. I remember going there in the 80's when there were hardly any people. Again...an attraction ruined by the precious few that can't behave themselves in public.
on September 3,2012 | 08:40AM
allie wrote:
yes. it was dangerous and lawless. locals may not have felt safe
on September 3,2012 | 01:21PM
Anonymous wrote:
It was good to read that the Mokulua Islands are also being monitored. Over the years they have become a commercial magnet. My son calls it Sherbet Beach with the lime, lemon and raspberry kayaks cluttering the beach. And then there was the jackass strolling the beach with his parrot so he could take your picture with a bird on your shoulder. Like Tijuana.
on September 3,2012 | 10:06AM
Anonymous wrote:
Lots of overtime!!! Here come the big Threes.
on September 3,2012 | 10:26AM
MANDA wrote:
Oh, right, like a ban on underage drinking in the midst of the beer & booze fest would ever be enforceable.
on September 3,2012 | 11:15AM
daniwitz13 wrote:
If you are the type that WANT your Govt. taking away your rights to drink and have fun, go where one wants, and having your Govt. Agents breathing down one's neck, then you 'got it' and enjoy. But enjoy what? They just took all the enjoyment away. One wrote that it's so nice and peaceful, so therefore why NOT make it a permanent ban that NO ONE can go there and keep it pristine, only plovers allowed. That would be so awesome, right? And since it IS so nice, let's make it for all the other spots too. Awesome again. And if it's the HEINEKEN causing this PROBLEM, then ban HEINEKEN too. Triple Awesome, right? I love it when a Govt. plan comes together like this, don't you? No enjoyment people, no citations, can't get any better than that. I 'thought' that having a big event and nothing exciting happens is like going to an action movie with no action scenes. Like going to a football game with two explosive teams but no one scores, 0-0. Life NEEDS action, not inaction, like our Govt. Pity.
on September 3,2012 | 12:10PM
Papakolea wrote:
If you want to get drunk and get rowdy, you are perfectly free to do it in your own back yard. The sandbar is public property and there are rightfully rules on activities on public property.
on September 3,2012 | 12:41PM
Bdpapa wrote:
on September 3,2012 | 01:33PM
sweetness613 wrote:
Hear you there but like nippy said no moa the bikini wahines getting wasted
on September 3,2012 | 02:04PM
daniwitz13 wrote:
You don't understand. They allow you to drink at other areas, on the ocean, only NOT where they stake out the public areas that they TELL you, that you can't. You assume that everyone that drinks gets drunk and rowdy. You are saying that one does NOT have a right to drink and enjoy the beach and outdoors. One can enjoy other PUBLIC areas, but NOT this PUBLIC area because they say so. If you enjoy someone curtailing your activities that certainly is your Right. To tell others how they should drink and enjoy, is, you know, none.. Of the Hundreds that use to go there and enjoy, did NOT go there to enjoy. Thus, Hundreds were discouraged from enjoying themselves over the weekend there like they used to. To deny enjoyment for the sake of rules is a lousy tradeoff.. Pity.
on September 3,2012 | 08:01PM
Bdpapa wrote:
If there was more discretion and less boisternous we wouldnʻt have come to this.
on September 3,2012 | 08:15PM
daniwitz13 wrote:
This govt. is saying, we 'think' that they got rowdy the LAST time, so most 'likely' they will do it again, Hawaii lost their games, so most likely they will lose again. No sense going there anymore. A lot of empty seats makes it more enjoyable No one yelling and screaming and having a beer. No wait, no beer. Oh well, enjoy. Pity.
on September 3,2012 | 08:57PM
CloudForest wrote:
We need to write more and more rules for everything - or we can choose to be a free society. What's it gonna be?
on September 3,2012 | 01:16PM
sweetness613 wrote:
Bakini Wahines getting wasted.
on September 3,2012 | 02:10PM
WesleySMori wrote:
Well "CLOUDFOREST", What Type Of FREEDOM Are YOU TALKING About WithOut "RULES"????
on September 3,2012 | 05:32PM
MC_KAILUA wrote:
Too many laws on the Oahu island anyway, can't even keep up with enforcement. One too many rule for the deserted island, leave it free. Why spend resources and even pay attention to this piece of sand?
on September 4,2012 | 06:17AM
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