Hawaii’s watersports community grapples with confusion and inconsistencies in COVID rules

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Confusion over COVID rules and late decisions are creating chaos in Hawaii’s water sports community.

In Oahu, a surf meet scheduled for this weekend recently gained city approval as approval came too late for a Hui Waa paddle race.

There has not been a full Hui Waa racing schedule for over two years. But over the past weekend, the organization finally received the green light.

However, six days’ notice was not sufficient to relaunch the crews.

“On the 27 (September) they (the government officials) said we could go, which is great because we couldn’t understand why we couldn’t go,” said race director Hui Waa , Steve Silva.

“But at that point they said we could go, we had already canceled the races.”

Silva has been organizing Hui Waa races for almost 10 years.

The paddling season is usually planned a year in advance and the races involve the transport of elaborate crew, equipment and safety and support systems.

“Due to the pandemic, the whole season is canceled,” Silva said. “The whole preseason was canceled, then the regattas were canceled, then we try to re-issue licenses, and then it was canceled again.”

Surfers ride similar waves.

A Hawaii Surfing Association contest scheduled for this weekend had already been canceled, but the city said it was now back.

Jen Tema says she didn’t know when her son Luke could compete in Oahu waters again.

“The kids in Hawaii who want a career in surfing couldn’t get any points,” Tema said. “The kids on the mainland in California, they got to participate in professional events, junior professional events, get points, start working for their careers. The children of Hawaii weren’t able to do that.

Governor David Ige acknowledges the confusion, but provided little clarity when asked how the decision-making process in water sports matters.

“Surf events are a challenge because if it’s in a city park then the city would definitely be involved,” Ige said Tuesday, in a one-on-one interview with Hawaii News Now.

“Remember that the state is responsible for the high water mark to the ocean. Obviously, where the surfing event occurs is under state jurisdiction and clearly we would have a way of whether or not it is happening. “

Ultimately, the HSA event and the Hui Waa seasons are set to resume, but the anticipation is tempered.

“My confidence is generally good, but we’ll see what happens,” Silva said. “I always plan to have the race, but I have to be prepared for anything”

Hui Waa’s next race is scheduled for October 30.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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