The permit application deadline for surf contests on Oahu’s North Shore has been extended a month, to Feb. 26, in consideration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that triggered the cancellation of several competitive events this winter season, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced today.
If approved, the permit for an event will be issued for the same calendar dates over three years, beginning Jan. 1, 2022; and publication of the triennial calendar will also be extended by one month to May 28, 2021, the agency said.
“With the recent moratorium on surf events announced by the State, we understand that many of the other event organizers were focused on the current environment and may not have been able to plan ahead to next year and beyond,” said DPR Director Designate, Laura H. Thielen, in the announcement.
“We hope the pandemic and the measures to combat it will not be prevalent by the beginning of 2022, so planning ahead to a brighter future is ideal while recognizing that further COVID mitigation efforts may unfortunately still be necessary at that time,” she added.
Cancelled events for the 2020-2021 winter season included the 2020 Vans World Cup of Surfing Men’s Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach, both organized with the World Surf League; the 2021 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout at Banzai Pipeline and WSL’s Jaws Championship Men’s and Women’s Big-wave Competition at Peahi, Maui, as well as WSL’s Volcom Pipe Pro and Sunset Open on Oahu, the latter including women’s and men’s divisions.
While the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Pipe Masters was held in December and won by Hawaii’s John John Florence, the other two crown events— the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach—are being held entirely remotely, with male and female surfers submitting videos of their best free-surf waves, ridden independently at each break rather than against other surfers in traditional heats.
The Maui Womens Pro, won by Australia’s Tyler Wright with Hawaii’s Carissa Moore placing second, also concluded at Pipeline in December after moving from Maui’s Honolua Bay following a fatal shark attack on a recreational surfer in the bay.
The 2020-2021 winter season is the first time in 10 years that women have participated in WSL professional surfing competitions at the internationally fabled North Shore breaks that are considered the ultimate proving ground for the sport.
In December, the Honolulu City Council unanimously passed Bill 10, a bill for an ordinance requiring gender equity for sports activities requiring a park use permit, popularly known as “the surf equity bill.”
In a phone conversation with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Jan. 7, Thielen said she anticipated there might be more equal opportunities coming up for women “now that women have surfed Pipeline, and we look forward after COVID to working with them in achieving gender equity.”
But first, she advised all event organizers, “you have to get those applications in.”
Applicants should structure their plans based on regular, non-pandemic circumstances, DPR announced, adding that, if pandemic orders are still in effect near the start of the triennial period, adjustments and safety plans will be required.
All applications must be received by Feb. 26 and may be hand delivered or sent in via registered mail to:
Department of Parks and Recreation
Permit Section Office
Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building, 1st Floor
650 S. King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
This office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
For more information, visit: bit.ly/NorthShoreSurf