Public weighs in on potential changes to surf contest permit process

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On Tuesday, the public got a chance to weigh in on whether the city should change its rules when it comes to surf contests.

Potential changes include creating an advisory committee to help resolve scheduling conflicts, allowing the city to fill the vacancy when an application is withdrawn, denied, or revoked, and changing the North Shore event calendar to a three-year event cycle.

Many argue that the proposed changes don’t consider the majority of people who use the park, or reflect the best interests of the community.

“We know contests need to happen. That’s not the issue at heart here. We know there’s going to be contests on the North Shore. It’s more like how will we make it fair for everyone to have these contests? Who will enjoy it better, and how it will be better for the community?” said bodyboarder Jeff Hubbard.

“People think it’s only 64 days for the whole year, but it actually, when you do the math, it takes away from the prime surfing days and the prime surfing hours from recreational surfers who work all day, all week, all year, and are kind of shut down a lot of times when the contests are extended, extended hours. So it really just cuts into what we live for,” said recreational surfer Carl Higgins.

“You cannot just say that one type of surfing, or one type of hee nalu, when all of us go out into the ocean and pay homage to our kupuna and to our papa, and really put our love and respect into everything,” surfer and cultural practitioner Kahekili Labatte. “These kinds of rules really show that money rules things and that why do these people that come from places with no respect, to my understanding, or to no love or care for the land, have a say or to even have kind of a push for permits here? It’s really disrespectful to me.”

In the past, problems with the permitting process have led to complaints from the World Surf League and the family of Eddie Aikau.

The city Department of Parks and Recreation says it will take everything it heard under consideration.

The public has until July 11 to submit additional comments by mail to the Department of Parks and Recreation, Executive Services Division, 1000 Uluohia Street, Suite 309, Kapolei, Hawaii 96707.

View the current shore water event rules here.

View the proposed changes here.

Click here for an overview of the changes.

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