Beach battle over sand volleyball courts - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Beach battle over sand volleyball courts

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There are four volleyball courts at Queen's Beach and two sides to a dispute over who can use them, and when?

The "Sandbox" in Waikiki is a playground for recreational volleyball players. It's also used by volleyball non-profits like Kevin Wong's Spike and Serve clinic.

"You have a groundswell of people who want to play. And in Hawaii we pretty much have four courts," he said.

A city permit allows Wong to use the courts on a weekday and some weekends. Other days it's used by other volleyball non-profits.

Joshua Lyons said the non-profits are denying recreational players like himself fair access.

"They're using them four of five week days, sometimes the weekends. Sometimes permits are picked up and not even used," he said.

Lyons started a petition he plans to send to the city. It complains that non-profits commandeer the courts and force recreational players to take down their nets.

Wong said he understands Lyons frustration but disagrees with his allegations.

"I try to make everything work. That's why it really took me by shock when he went on line with all these accusations of for-profit, and companies making a profit off of this," he said.

"Some days they'll use more courts or less courts," Lyons said. "That makes it difficult when you're trying to plan and coordinate a group of people to get down there for some recreational time.

Wong said it also works the other way. He said young people can't play when recreational players are out there.

"You see the mix of people are older, they're more professional. If you go on a random day, unless it's with a youth non-profit, you don't see the kids out there playing. It's just too hard to enter," he said.

The Olympics fueled a surge of interest in beach volleyball. Wong said in the past year about 1,200 youngsters have participated in his events.

"The sport's growing, and it's not going to go backwards. How do we come up with more opportunities for everyone?" he said.

"We want to see it grow for the youth. But we don't want to see it grow for the youth at the expense of the people that have been there for 20 years," Lyons said.

Wong and Lyons both say the solution is having more places to play. But until that happens the limited space at Queen's Beach is all the space there is.

Here's the link to Lyon's petition at SignOn.org: http://signon.org/sign/fair-use-of-queens-beach?source=c.url&r_by=7576003

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