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Eight commercial surfing permits authorized for Kahaluu Bay

  • COURTESY BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
                                A surf school operates at Kahaluu Bay on the Kona coast.

    COURTESY BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

    A surf school operates at Kahaluu Bay on the Kona coast.

The state Board of Land and Natural Resources has amended rules regulating commercial activity in the waters at Kahaluu Bay on the Kona coast.

During its meeting Friday, the board amended its Hawaii Administrative Rules to authorize eight commercial surfing permits — four in the morning and four in the afternoon — to be issued by the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation, according to a news release. The rules cover surfboards as well as other craft that are not motorized in a designated zone at Kahaluu Bay.

The board’s concerns were primarily about the safety of ocean users and the protection of natural resources, the release said, and focused on the bay’s capacity for commercial use.

Rules for the popular surfing and snorkeling area have not been amended since 2016, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

At a virtual public hearing Sept. 8, nearly 70 people provided written or verbal testimony, with those opposed to the rule changes generally favoring no commercial activity at Kahaluu or speaking against the permits being issued in shifts.

DOBOR indicated it does not support a complete ban on commercial activity in the area but said it would consider commercial activity prohibitions during weekends, as some testifiers suggested.

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