HONOLULU (KHON2) — Surfers and boaters call the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor or the popular surf spot “Bowls” a Waikiki treasure.
“You have the parking lot right next to the beach, and this is the most consistent surfing area on this island,” said Solomon Kawamae, advocate.
Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You
From enjoying the surf to watching Friday night fireworks, the area is easily accessible with 300 free parking stalls in the lot. However, lawmakers said a proposal from the state’s Division of Boating and Recreation includes possible paid parking.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources told KHON2 that there are no plans at this time to change parking at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, but advocates said they are concerned that could change.
“I’ve been coming here for I don’t know how long; this is my surf spot,” said John Gerordias, a longtime Bowls surfer. “If I have to come and pay for parking, it takes away the local vibes.”
Recreational users would like the state to focus on improving conditions of the parking lot instead since deteriorating parking signs and faded stall lines continue to be an issue.
“The Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor is in disrepair, and we do need to do something about it. And, it’s just a matter of how right now,” said Rep. Adrian Tam, (D) Waikiki.
Meanwhile, the boating division and the University of Hawaii released its vision report which includes ideas for parks and a community center in the harbor.
“If we do move forward with their proposal, I’d like them to do as much outreach in the community as possible to get as much feedback to make sure everyone is happy,” Tam said.
DLNR said free parking is available from 4:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and cars left in the area during the closed time could be towed.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
Advocates and community members will hold a rally on Saturday, Jan. 7 to keep the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor its traditional self.
“We need this place to stay the same; this is Hawaii,” said Gerordias.