The executive order "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 governor's order establishes the Duke Kahanamoku Surfing Reserve, which includes surf breaks along Waikiki Beach bounded on the west by the Ala Wai Canal and on the east by the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.
Body boarding the Banzai Pipeline (Photo by Pete Orelup)
The order also establishes the North Shore Surfing Reserve, which includes surf breaks from Ali'i Beach in Haleiwa to Sunset Beach. Surfers and spectators from all over the world come here every winter to experience the 25-foot spectacular waves at spots like the Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay.
"Hawaii has some of the most famous and beautiful surf sites in the world and its native sons, such as Senator Fred Hemmings, have deservedly gained international recognition in the sport of surfing," said Governor Lingle, a Republican. "I am pleased we can formally acknowledge the cultural, sports, and historic significance of surfing in Hawaii."
The idea to designate surfing reserves in Hawaii was first introduced during the 2010 session of the Hawaii State Legislature by retiring Republican Senator Fred Hemmings, a former World Surfing Champion. He also authored the 1997 nonfiction bestseller, "The Soul of Surfing is Hawaiian."
Senator Hemmings' bill was approved unanimously by the State Senate, but was killed by the House on April 29 in the final hours of the last day of the session.
Governor Lingle's executive order resurrected the measure. Political observers say they cannot recall a Hawaii governor ever issuing an executive order to restore a bill rejected by legislators.
Senator Hemmings' idea to establish surfing reserves in Hawaii was patterned after the National Surfing Reserves Australia program, which currently recognizes about a dozen iconic surfing sites throughout Australia because of their intrinsic environmental, heritage, sporting and cultural value.
In a news conference today, Senator Hemmings said, "Hawaii is the genesis of surfing. We must regain the cultural and sports leadership of the world of surfing, and surfing reserves is a step in that direction. I appreciate and thank Governor Lingle for establishing surfing reserves for Hawaii."
"It's like declaring Diamond Head a national monument," he said.
The executive order does not provide any funding for the surfing reserves, but enables the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is statutorily responsible for managing all waters and coastal areas of the state, to receive donations that could be used for signs or markers that identify the surf reserves.
Under the executive order, the Department of Land and Natural Resources may assist in promoting federal, state and county collaboration in identifying, nourishing and protecting the Hawaii surfing reserves.
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2010. All rights reserved.