One of the best things about living in Hawaii is public ownership of the shoreline. Unrestricted access to the beaches and oceans surrounding the islands is pretty much holy writ.
So it makes sense that the city would explore limiting the number of surf contests on one of the most popular stretches of surf breaks on Oahu, the South Shore. Unlike the North Shore, Waikiki and environs lack clear and defined rules for staging surfing contests, which take up valuable beach space and displace recreational surfers.
“The city is considering amendments to the Shorewater Rules to potentially limit South Shore surf events,” said Nathan Serota, spokesman for the city Parks and Recreation Department. “Those changes would need to go out for public hearing as part of the approval process, which could happen as early as summer 2020.”
Public hearings, yes. Given the city’s experience with its ambitious plans for Ala Moana Regional Park and Sherwood Forest in Waimanalo, going beyond the minimum disclosure requirements to gather as much public input as possible, should be the new standard. After all, everyone on Oahu, and especially the islandwide surfing community, have a stake in this.
The city should aim for rules that minimize disruption to the beachgoing public: a specific — and low — number of surf meets, restricted to the dates scheduled (no holding periods).