HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds jammed a public forum on a proposal that would have banned stand-up paddleboarding from Ala Moana surf spots three times a week, only to learn that the proposal had been withdrawn.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources decided to go ahead with the Wednesday night meeting anyway to have a conversation about making sure there's enough ocean for everyone.
"After the proposal was submitted, it's obvious that a majority of the users feel that they should be given the opportunity to work it out amongst themselves," said DLNR Chair William Aila.
There was some tension at the start of the meeting.
"I feel this is something we don't even need to discuss," said Bonnie Fermahin. "We should not be segregated in any way. We already have few freedoms."
Tim MacMaster's group Safe Surf Hawaii had made the proposal which would have barred stand-up paddleboarders in the surf breaks between Kewalo Basin and Ala Wai Boat Harbor.
"My plan was to come here, number one, to say I will try my best to be dignified in defeat," MacMaster said as some audience members made catcalls. "Nothing is going to happen on this."
Surfers and stand-up paddleboarders were united in saying that no government rules or laws are needed when it comes to riding the waves.
"Our gift to the world is surfing," said Scott Namuo, drawing loud applause. "And we cannot shackle surfing or restrain it by any kind of regulation."
The tension started to ease a bit as MacMaster listened to speakers who were passionate about their sport and shared stories about how surfers already regulate themselves.
"If you going do wave-hogging, guess what, they goin' slap your head and tell you, brah, get outside," said Eric Keawe.
Longtime watermen also offered some advice to MacMaster.
"Like everybody said, all you gotta do is go like this: What's up, bruddah? How you? And you going get your wave," said veteran beach boy China Uemura.
After the hearing, MacMaster shook hands and spoke briefly with some of those who were opposed to his idea.
"We have raised the issue, and hopefully raised consciousness about the issue as well."