Following the example first put forth by Australia, Hawaii governor Linda Lingle established Hawaii’s first two ‘Surfing Reserves’ this past week, after issuing her executive order in the face of the House of Representatives’ unexpected negation of the bill in May. A Reserve is only a Reserve if recognized by the state, which is why the bill had to pass through the House and the Senate before returning to Hawaii.
Originally inspired by Hawaii state senator Fred Hemmings, an extremely accomplished surfer himself, the Reserves would provide, as stated in the bill, “(1) Formal worldwide recognition of the sites as surfing areas that have quality surf and significant cultural, historical recreational, and competitive sports value (2) Recognition of the long and close relationship between surfers and the ocean and (3) Promoting the long term preservation of Hawaii surfing reserves for recreation and competitive surfing.”
Lingle used her gubernatorial sway to finally secure the Surfing Reserves for Hemmings bill, and did so believing that the movement “acknowledges the cultural, sports and historic significance of important surf sites in Hawaii,” and “raises public awareness about the importance of protecting, nourishing and developing Hawaii’s world famous surf sites.”
The success of the bill now places Hawaii’s first two Surf Reserves on the island of Oahu (where Honolulu is located). On your next visit to the Aloha State, stop by the southerly Duke Kahanamoku Surfing Reserve, which extends from the Ala Wai Canal to the Waikiki War Memorial, and then move up to the North Shore Reserve, which extends from Ali‘i Beach Park to Sunset Beach.
These Reserves represent a transforming and maturing recognition of surfing as a sport, but also as a legitimate historical enterprise, and by all means, the surfing’s good.