Stand-up paddlers crossing paths with swimmers

James Okubo
James Okubo
Dougie Cayan
Dougie Cayan

By Paul Drewes bio | email

ALA MOANA BEACH PARK (KHNL) - Stand-up paddleboarding is really taking off here in the islands, but is this sport making waves with other ocean users?

On a beautiful day in the islands, many are at Ala Moana Beach Park.

Soaking up the sun, or taking a swim in the water.

"Its nice for swimming, cause the waves don't break all the way in. Its pretty mellow and calm," said Honolulu resident, James Okubo, who swims at Ala Moana three times a week.

Lately he's seen a lot more traffic in the water. As more people pick up their paddles and climb on their boards.

"Its real smooth, it's a good place to practice. Not too deep, so its perfect conditions out here," said Honolulu Paddleboarder, Rex Shinmon.

But as more standup paddlers practice at Ala Moana Beach Park, many are crossing paths with swimmers.

And that has some beachgoers concerned.

"I can see the swimmers point of view, the paddleboard is big and if you have no control, you can get hurt," said Dougie Cayan, a standup paddleboarder from Mililani.

But who has the right of way? Ala Moana Beach Park is an area used by surfers, swimmers and now stand up paddleboarders.

Right now there are no posted rules of the road, or water in this case. But both sides say that could be helpful in keeping things safe in the ocean.

"We should put signs out saying swimmers have the right of way. Keep it simple and maybe everybody would get the message," said Shinmon.

Putting up lanes is another option being talked about at the beach, or even designated areas for individual sports.

But until there is a decision over what can be used and where, many water users are trying to follow the rules of common sense.

"Everybody's gotta look out for each other so no one gets hurt," said Cayan.

The state will be holding an informal discussion over crowding and safety concerns from standup paddleboards at Ala Moana Beach Park. It takes place on Saturday May 2nd, starting at 10am, at the McCoy Pavilion.