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City proposes limiting number of summer South shore surf contests

By Nikki Schenfeld,


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The city is proposing limiting the number of surf contests held on Oahu’s south shores during the summer months.

It’s similar to guidelines that already exist on the North Shore.

In the winter the best surfers fly to Oahu’s North Shore for contests. In the summer, swells bring big surf to south shores making an already busy Waikiki even busier.

“It’s always hectic but summer brings everyone from across the island for south swells so it gets busy but it’s organized chaos,” said surf dad and surfer Tim Ashton.

In the early 2000s, the city put a cap on how many contests could be held on north shores during the winter. Currently, only 16 permits can be issued at Haleiwa, Sunset, Turtle Bay and Pipeline each season.

The city’s south shore proposal would be similar requiring contest organizers to schedule events, other than Duke’s Oceanfest, in advance for a permit, with a two-week holding period, with contests held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and a 10-day off period between surf events at each spot.

The proposal would impact between surf contests held between May 1 and Sept. 30 at Kewalos, Ala Moana Regional Park, Kuhio and Queens beaches.

“I think it’s good so that locals can get some waves,” said Dale Mandeleah, Hawaii Surfing Association contest surfer.

Regulars said there needs to be a balance so everyone can enjoy the summer surf.

Big wave surfer Keone Downing said, “I just don’t think we need every day Queens or every weekend Queens a surf contest.”

He said when he was growing up there was only one surf contest in Waikiki that everyone would look forward to, and six total surf contests across the island annually.

“There’s value in a surf contest for the people in a surf contest, but it’s a small amount of people,” Downing said. “I think starting to address how many events there are is a value because again, it’s for the public to use the ocean.”

He said rules don’t need to be similar to Oahu’s North Shore, because most kid contests only take two days, and are typically held on weekends, which is also when most families want to enjoy surfing with the family in town, Downing added.

Groms told KHON2 they think limiting the contests isn’t fair because contests are good exposure.

“So other companies they can look at you and you might get sponsored,” said 12-year-old bodyboarder Aiden Cayangho.

The city said it will have public meetings about the proposal in the near future.

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