Boarders make sea sweep


POSTED: Monday, May 25, 2009

Fishing nets, tackle, shoes, slippers, cups, cans, plastic bottles, Styrofoam, plastic grocery bags and a few odd items—including a big pot and a piece of carpet—comprised the sorry inventory yesterday after the first-ever waterborne cleanup of Maunalua Bay.

;[Preview]  First Paddle Boarder Clean Up

Dozens of stand-up paddlers participated in a 4-mile sweep of Oahu's east shore from Hawaii Kai to Kahala.

Watch ]


From a teenager to a 77-year-old., about 50 stand-up paddleboarders made their way from the Ewa end of Maunalua Bay to Waialae Beach Park in Kahala, fishing litter out with their paddles.

“;We each had about a dozen pieces of trash,”; said Bill Weeshoff, 39, who rode his big fire engine-red paddleboard back the four miles to Maunalua Bay in Hawaii Kai.

Kayakers and other ocean enthusiasts joined the stand-up paddlers for the flotsam collection, sponsored by Malama Maunalua Bay. The idea came from owners of Wet Feet, a paddleboard store, who saw lots of floating rubbish.

The event emphasized long-term awareness.

“;It's like a mindset—that people need to get back into taking care of the ocean and the land,”; said Alika Winter, Malama Maunalua Makai Watch coordinator.

Weeshoff wore a custom-made utility belt with a mesh bag strapped to his waist and filled it with plastic bags, ribbons from leis and milk containers used by boaters for bailing.

When the paddleboarders got to Waialae Beach Park in Kahala, they spread out their opala on the ground and found it covered more than 80 square feet, said Winter.

“;When everyone is working towards the same collective goal, it turned out to be a lot more than we thought it would be,”; he said. “;I was appalled when we pulled everything on the beach. I was pretty grossed out.”;

The majority of the debris comes from land-based activities, and an estimated 20 percent from marine-based activities, Winter said.

Scores of personal watercraft riders, parasailors, fishermen, boaters, kayakers and paddleboarders shared the bay yesterday.

Ricky Tongg, 36, brought his son, Maverick, 5, to fish.

“;I'm not going to let my son step in the water,”; he said, noting some floating trash and alien algae along the shore at the middle of the bay. “;I grew up around here. My father used to bring me fishing, and it used to be a little murky. Now it's very, very murky. When my father was young, it was very clean.”;

Stand-up paddleboarders, one of the newest to enter the ocean recreation scene in Hawaii, have been criticized due to conflicting uses by surfers and swimmers in areas such as at Ala Moana Beach Park.

However, “;they're ocean-minded people,”; Winter said. “;They are interested in making this world a better place. And this is a good arena for them to show up and participate.”;

Malama Maunalua also conducts a volunteer alien algae cleanup twice a month that yields truckloads of the foreign limu, which kills the reef. Volunteers have weeded out about an acre.