Beach concessions losing boards to scammers

Jillian Przygodzinski
Jillian Przygodzinski

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are many beach concessions on the sands of Waikiki where you can rent a kayak, snorkeling equipment, or a surfboard for an hour, or for the whole day. But over the past few months, there's been an increasing problem -- some of the surfboards aren't being returned.

Beach Boy Hale has been in business for 12 years, and has been at its current location behind the U.S. Army Museum on Duke Kahanamoku Beach for the past six years, enjoying a steady stream of visitors and locals who rent their beach equipment. But managers at the beach concession said people who appear to be locals have been coming to beach stands, supposedly to rent a board.

"They show up without their Id's, and they want to rent a board or a stand up board, or they say, oh my friend will be down with ID and my money, so can you just please let us take the board out," said Jillian Przygodzinski, the weekend manager at Beach Boy Hale.

Most of the time, the beach stand would let it slide and allow the person to take the board. "Once in a while those kind of people slip by because we want to accommodate as best we can," Przygodzinski said. "But they end up stealing the boards and not coming back with them."

Przygodzinski has worked on the beach for eight years. She said having boards stolen that way increased over the past few months, with eight boards taken.

That can add up. A brand new surfboard can run about $400 to $600; a new standup board costs $1,000 to $1,200. And its the new boards that the thieves are looking for.

"They know when a brand new board is coming out that we have, and they'll specifically ask for the brand new board," Przygodzinski said. "And then they'll just take off with it."

Other beach concessions have had board stolen the same way. Beach stands, including Beach Boy Hale, also have reported more boards being stolen from the stands at night. Thieves unscrewed the skegs, and then slip the boards out.

It's believed the thieves are trying to sell the surfboards, even on eBay and Craigslist. But the boards have serial numbers, and stickers identifying the boards' beach stand. While those can be scraped off, they still leave remnants on the board, Przygodzinski said.

The thefts have made the beach stands much more wary when renting boards.

"It's not really showing aloha to everyone down here because that's what we're trying to do, make them want to come back and do business with us," said Przygodzinski.

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