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Wednesday, April 23, 2014         

KOKUA LINE


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Recreational surfers cannot be forced out by contests

By June Watanabe

POSTED:



Question: The annual Hawaii State Surfing Championships were held at Ala Moana “Bowls” on May 5, 6 and 7. On the 5th and 6th, recreational surfers were told to clear the very popular surf spot for the contest to start at 7 a.m. and at 6 a.m. on the 7th. If the contest’s permit reserves the surf spot from 8 a.m., shame on the organizers and sponsors for illegally clearing the area earlier. This deprives the recreational surfers of their rights to enjoy it for a couple of hours before the contest. Doesn't the state Department of Land and Natural Resources ensure that their permits are followed so the public is not unfairly taken advantage of?

Answer: If the meet sponsor was telling people to clear the area, no matter what the time, it would have been in violation of the permit given by DLNR, said Meghan Statts, DLNR’s Oahu Boating District manager.

“I will speak to the sponsor and explain to him that he cannot clear out an area to hold his contest,” she said.

However, Wendell Aoki, president of the Hawaii Surfing Association and contest director, said emphatically that no one was ordered out of the area.

“We know the rules. … We cannot physically move or force people out of the area,” he said.

Aoki said the event permit allowed use of the area from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Security officials asked people in the water “if they could move over to give the kids a chance because it does qualify them to go to the Surfing America United States championship,” he said. “We know the rules, and we don’t say, ‘You gotta get out of here.’ We ask them nicely, and if they don’t comply, they don’t comply. What can we do?”

Statts explained that all marine event permits are for the “nonexclusive use of the ocean waters. Every permit states that. No sponsor has the permission or authorization to clear out any area to hold a contest in state ocean waters.”

Statts said most people will just go to another surf spot when there is an event. But if someone refuses to leave the area, “there is nothing to stop them from staying in the area.”

Anyone who feels they are forced to leave the water by any event can contact DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR (643-3567), which would then check the permit and enforce the stipulation of “no exclusive use.”

Statts said DLNR does not have enough personnel to “be watching at all times” over the many marine events that are held. However, if DLNR is made aware of a permittee not abiding by the conditions of the permit, it could result in future permits not being issued to that organization or individual, she said.

Question: Recently I pointed out to the manager of the Wahiawa Zippy’s that when you order an entree it says on the menu that you have a choice of hot vegetables, macaroni salad or potato salad. But when you order a small portion, they charge you 62 cents for mac salad in place of the hot veggies. Nowhere on the menu does it say extra for mac salad. The manager agreed with me, but after one month they still charge for mac salad because it's programmed in the computer. Can you contact them about this issue?

Answer: “The extra charge was not noted in the restaurant menu because this decision to allow the substitution was made from customers’ requests after the menus were printed,” said Jeanine Mamiya-Kalahiki, marketing manager for Zippy’s.

Servers are supposed to verbally notify customers of the additional charge, she said. “We are currently in the process of reprinting our restaurant menus and will be certain to add this information to it.”

Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.






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