Preserved: Governor Linda Lingle Establishes Hawaiian Surfing Reserve with Executive Order

| posted on June 02, 2010

Senator Fred Hemmings, the father of the Hawaiian Surfing Reserves Bill

Senator Fred Hemmings, the father of the Hawaiian Surfing Reserves Bill

By Daniel Ikaika Ito

Governor Linda Lingle isn’t an avid surfer, but yesterday, under the florescent lights at the State Capitol, she came up big for all waveriders by signing Executive Order 10-07, the Surfing Reserves bill, into law.

Once signed, the order establishes the Duke Kahanamoku Surfing Reserve (surf breaks from the Ala Wai canal to Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium) and the North Shore Reserve (waves from Ali‘i Beach Park to Sunset Beach) on O‘ahu. It essentially preserves these world-class waves as historic landmarks and “acknowledges the cultural, sports and historic significance of important surf sites in Hawai‘i.” Furthermore, Executive Order 10-07 allows the Department of Land and Natural Resources to receive donations to distinguish surf reserves with signs or markers.

“It’s a great day for surfing,” said Sen. Fred Hemmings (R, Kailua-Hawaii Kai) about the governor’s executive order. “

Sen. Hemmings was a highly successful contest surfer in the 1960s, winning the Makaha International four different occasions and the world surfing championship in 1968 at Rincon, Puerto Rico. Further, he’s also credited for creating the Triple Crown of Surfing and has been a Senator in Hawaii for a decade.

Retiring from politics this year, Senator Hemmings first introduced the bill as an attempt to preserve and honor the roll that the Waikiki and North Shore waves have played in shaping the fabric of Hawaii. The bill was shot down in the House of Representatives during the final hours of the legislative session, a move that many skeptics and pundits deemed to be rooted in partisan politics. Both Hemmings and Lingle are republican.

“When we began our administration we knew that being a republican governor and having a legislature that was majority democrat there would be a challenge to get a variety of things done,” said Gov. Lingle of the challenges of passing laws like Senate Bill 2646. “This was a real labor of love for people on our side because it’s such a good idea.”

Sen. Hemmings based surfing reserves upon the National Surfing Reserves Australia program. Hemmings hopes this executive order will bring back recognition and prominence to Hawai‘i in the international surf community. The only cost to taxpayers for the Governor’s Executive Order 10-07 is the paper it’s printed on and the pen used to sign it into law.

“This is an effort in the right direction for Hawaii to regain its prominence and leadership in surfing and that’s why I appreciate what you’ve done here,” said Sen. Hemmings to Gov. Lingle at the press conference. “Surfing is Hawai‘i’s gift to the world.”

  • Serge Dedina, WiLDCOAST

    Thanks Governor Lingle and Senator Hemmings for your leadership and vision in protecting surf spots. We need to create surfing reserves through the United States and worldwide. Thanks to our friends at Surfrider and Save the Waves for working with WiLDCOAST to protect our coastal and marine heritage and surf spots locally and globally.

    Serge Dedina
    Executive Director, Ph.D.
    Imperial Beach, California
    Ensenada, Mexico

  • matt baxter

    Well done Fred. Now shoot out and buy yourself a new shirt to celebrate.

  • whamo

    Congratulations, Senator Hemming, on your good work. Those sweet waves of Town should be preserved. They’re special: Kaiser’s, Number Three’s; Queen’s, and the others. Those offshore greenies in warm water, peeling off into perfect, tubing sections, as well as lots of slopey sections for turns and carves and rebounds and trims, are a surfer’s delight.

  • thetruth guys think this is a good thing? Just you wait ’til your benevolent state government decides that they want to make you have a license to surf, or begin putting police patrol in the water…think not?

  • saxsaxcloin

    What about the gulf coast? Hawaii is clean enough , come protect whats being fuked up.

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  • Jimbo

    We need legislation like this throughout the U.S. coastal states where surf spots are threatened by development – – and oil.


    The Duke would be proud. Way to go Fred. Now go out and catch a wave!

  • Douglas Avery

    The idea should be to keep the reserves as prestine as possible and do it with aloha keep the reefs and beaches in there natural state to be enjoyed by all, hopefully the reserves will extend to the outer islands as well.

  • John Shockley

    I just saw George Downing’s take on the Hemming’s Surf Reserve Bill in the new Honolulu Star Advertiser, 6/09/10. Geoge heads up Hawaii’s Save our Surf organization. “Hawaii’s 250,000 wave riders had the opportunity to have Surf Reserve Bill SB 2646 go before next year’s legislature, due to this bill being deferred in committee for this year for more study. Gov. Linda lingle decided totake away our rights by placing an executive order to allow SB 2646 to be accepted into state law without legislation…”

    I see this Surf Reserve bill as toothless fluff…no penalties for industrial or business encroachment into the surf. The SURFER story says the Hawaiian Reserves are modeled after the National Surfing Reserves Australia. I looked them up. FYI they’re toothless also:

    I want to thank George Downing for coming down to the Honolulu Hale (City Hall) to support the public effort to keep the parking meter rates low for surfers and other beach-goers. We didn’t win, but the Mayor, Mufi Hanneman “the man of the people,” didn’t get to push through a 600% parking meter increase, as he said “to preserve city services.”

    Keep Surfing!

  •,,, Fred Rawlins

    Way to go for all the Fred’s out there, Fred Hemmings, and all the other people who love to surf! I have to respect going into politics from surfing; both take courage and a totla commitment. As for progress, I think any enviromental bill is better than none, and those spots like Turtle’s, and Kaiser’s, are all Da Kine! They are so beautiful, and I will never forget surfing with the beautiful skyline of Honolulu off in the background, it’s like a surreal dream. Kudos to the defenders of the enviroment; and of access to the Beach and the waves.

  • Walt

    Way to go Fred, you’re a true champion for the sport and the people! Its important for these spots to be recognzied and the bill goes a long way towards protecting them. I’m stoked for all the future generations that will enjoy these spots and I thank you for your efforts. Much Aloha and see you in the water!

  • Skeptical

    Something is fishy here. The wording of the bill mentions contests quite a few times, has no teeth to deal with development, and basically is taking the shoreline jurisdiction away from city and county of Honolulu and handing it over to the state.

    The proposal also doesn’t cover the areas from Magic Island to Honolulu Harbor. Maybe because of the massive development plans they have for the area? Point Panic and Kewalos are two major heritage breaks yet they are mysteriously left out for some reason.

    Don’t forget Fred Hemmings historically has a bad track record of trying to develop surf areas and pushing way too many contests in areas that should be free for ALL surfers, not just the Cali transplants looking to make a quick buck.

    A word of wisdom to WildCoast, Save the Waves, etc…Don’t be Jar Jar Binks handing over the keys to the empire. THINK about what you’re doing and make sure those fluffy feel-good bills aren’t screwing up the places you are trying to ‘help’.

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  • John Foss

    Bells Beach has been an official surfing recreation reserve since 1973 when its rights were enacted in a State bill.

    Since then the surfing community has worked tirelessly to protect and preserve Bells Beach. There will NEVER be any development here and the Bells Beach model is one that should be examined by all surfers wishing to protect their beach.

    The Duke Kahanamoku Surfing Reserve is a fantastic idea. but surfers should never ‘
    get lazy and assume it make their local break ‘bullet proof’. All surfers need to be vigilant in working to protect and preserve our great surfing environments.