Aloha Stadium's new synthetic turf almost ready

Aloha Stadium's new synthetic turf almost ready
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HALAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The new synthetic field at Aloha Stadium is designed to take the pounding -- not only from football games, but also from rugby and soccer matches.

The turf covers more than 100,000 square feet and includes a layer of sand and rubber, plus a pad that acts as a shock absorber.

"If you look at what would be one of the top recruiting tools for the University of Hawaii, well that would be it," Aloha Stadium manager Scott Chan said.

He said the new field is softer and more manageable which should reduce maintenance costs.

"We're hoping that it will provide better opportunities for our student athletes and create a better playing surface for them overall," he said.

The old turf was still under warranty and would have been replaced next year. But the stadium chose to put in a new field before football season.

The condition of the stadium's turf grabbed headlines in December, after the U.S. women's soccer team canceled a much-anticipated game at Aloha Stadium, saying the synthetic field was dangerous.

UBU Sports sold the surface to Aloha Stadium. The same product is in a few NFL stadiums.

Hawaii officials hope the field will help bring back the Pro Bowl, attract other sporting events, and counter the bad publicity from last year's canceled soccer match.

"To avoid having a reputation of having a facility that's hit or miss, I think this turf goes a long way," Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui said.

Tropical Storm Darby drenched the new surface Sunday night. By Monday morning, it was virtually dry.

"It held up very well and we're pleased to see that because one of its functions is to make sure it drains well and it doesn't puddle," Chan said.

The field has an eight-year warranty, but its life expectancy depends on usage and weather.

The $1.2 million price tag for the turf is covered by naming rights fees paid by Hawaiian Airlines.

The new synthetic surface gets its first test next month during the Western Union Ohana Cup rugby tournament and when the UH football team holds a scrimmage at Aloha Stadium.

That's good news for the university.

"I'm not really an expert in terms of field surface," said UH assistant football coach Abraham Elimimian," but what I do know is that as long as you can play fast and you're safe, that's all that really matters."

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