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Rules Amended for Surf Schools at Kahaluʻu Bay

October 23, 2021, 7:49 AM HST
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Courtesy of DLNR

DLNR’s State Board of Land and Natural Resources approved permits in shifts for surf schools at Kahaluʻu Bay.

On Friday, Oct. 22, the board approved amended rules which authorize the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) to issue eight commercial surfing permits in two shifts; four morning-shift permits and four afternoon-shift permits at the bay along the Kona coast.

“In revising the rules, DOBOR indicated its primary concerns were for the safety of ocean users and the protection of natural resources,” a DLNR press release stated. “So, its recommendations focused on the bay’s capacity for commercial use. The rules not only cover surfboards, but all non-motorized craft in Zone A of Kahalu‘u Bay.”

The vote comes after a public hearing and submission of dozens of verbal and written testimony on the matter. During a virtual public assessment hearing on Sept. 8, 2021, 20 people provided verbal testimony and another 48 mailed or e-mailed testimony.

DOBOR’s submittal to the land board characterized testifiers as being opposed into two separate groups: those who oppose all commercial activity at Kahalu‘u Bay; and those who oppose commercial operation shifts (largely commercial operators).

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“DOBOR said it does not support an outright ban on commercial activity at the bay,” the release stated.

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Some testifiers recommended prohibiting commercial operations on weekends or on Sundays. Since that was not considered in the original proposal, DOBOR will consider weekend/Sunday prohibitions in future rule amendments.

The rules (Hawai‘i Administrative Rules) for the popular snorkeling and surfing spot were last amended in 2016.

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