STAR-BULLETIN / JUNE 2004
Amy Lawson was the winner of the Longboard Women's Open event in 2004 at the "Surf Into Summer" event. This year's event will be moved to Sandy Beach.
Sewage stirs surf contest to move
The Memorial Day amateur event will go to Sandy Beach
An amateur surf contest that has been held at Ala Moana Bowls on Memorial Day Weekend for the last six years will be held at Sandy Beach this year because of concern about post-sewage spill water quality.
"Surf Into Summer" organizers decided this month to move the 300-contestant event, said Tim Mock, a retail general manager for contest co-sponsor Local Motion.
"We were on the fence" about whether water quality in the wake of a late-March 48 million-gallon sewage spill into the Ala Wai Canal would recover in time for the event, Mock said. "We decided to make the call early, so everyone who was interested would know."
Surfers who have signed up for the event at Sandy Beach have been "split 50-50" over whether they like the change or would rather have the event at Ala Moana Bowls.
Even without water quality concerns, "it's a good reason to try another venue," Mock said.
"Historically, there are a lot of things going on on Magic Island on Memorial Day Weekend," and the Sandy Beach location might offer more room for spectators, he said.
Marvin Heskett, an executive committee member of the Surfrider Foundation, said he believes the contest promoters made the right call because Ala Moana Bowls continues to be posted for contaminated water. The surf spot is where the Ala Wai Canal and Harbor empty into the ocean.
Also still posted in Waikiki are Ala Wai Canal, Harbor and Channel, Magic Island and the Ala Moana Boat Ramp. Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling clubs that long used the Ala Wai Canal for practice have moved to other locations for the year.
The only other location posted for sewage contamination in the state is Kualoa Regional Park, where a malfunctioning restroom is believed to be the cause of high bacteria levels in the water.
The "Surf Into Summer" contest features competitions for amateur surfers of all ages, in shortboard, longboard and bodyboard categories. This year's contest will be held May 27-29 at Sandy Beach, with finals on the last day.
The event started in 1985 at Queen's Beach in Waikiki, then moved to Ala Moana Bowls in 2000, according to event sponsors Local Motion Hawaiian Surf Co. and O'Neill Clothing.