Honolulu to reopen surfboard locker racks destroyed in fire

Honolulu to reopen surfboard locker racks destroyed in fire
A blaze in Waikiki destroyed surf racks, surfboards and caused damage to a nearby hotel. (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu plans to reopen public racks used by surfers to lock up their boards while they are away from the water after the racks were destroyed by a fire earlier this year.

The city’s Kuhio Beach Surfboard Racks is scheduled to reopen beginning Wednesday, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

A reopening ceremony and blessing is planned at the locker area in Waikiki Tuesday.

The racks about 50 feet (15 meters) from the ocean between the Honolulu Police Department’s Waikiki substation and the Moana Surfrider Hotel were destroyed Feb. 27, along with about 525 surfboards.

Authorities released surveillance images of a man seen in the area who is suspected of starting the blaze, but an arrest has not been made.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the coronavirus pandemic caused a delay in the area’s restoration.

“I had my board there, too, before I became mayor, and I wanted to repair and get it back up and running almost immediately,” Caldwell said.

Renovations to the area include a new security camera and a fire sprinkler system, Caldwell said.

The city has started emailing lease renewal forms to rack renters, including instructions about submitting the paperwork and obtaining locks.

The city has waived fees of $25 per month for residents and $40 monthly for nonresidents until Dec. 31. Returning renters will be given priority through Aug. 31.

Melissa Kurpinski, who has rented a locker for eight years, said the racks were a necessity because she could not carry her heavy board from a parking area.

Her $900 longboard was among those destroyed by the fire. Worse than losing an expensive and beloved possession was “the collective trauma and loss of a meeting place where I’d see friends and get in the water,” Kurpinski said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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