Da Hui Backdoor Shootout surf competition is a no-go in 2019 for now
For Hawaii to be at the premier surf spot in the world, Pipeline is basically our Super Bowl.
A local surf organization is outraged because the City and County of Honolulu denied a pemit for its annual surf event. Da Hui O He'e Nalu has held its 'Backdoor Shootout' competition at Pipeline since the mid 90's .It's a contest many call a launch pad for local amateur surfers.
According to the city, a bodysurfing contest was approved instead.
Pro surfer Kainoa McGee considers the ocean his playground. He's one of many local talents who have made a name for themselves at Da Hui's contest.
Da Hui says the city's permit process is flawed.
"We just need the process itself to be transparent. So that everybody knows exactly what the rules are and that everybody is forced to play by the same rules and if they're not playing by the rules than they don't get the permit," McGee said.
Da Hui took to social media to express frustration, that post has gone viral.
The group says the city fails to properly vet contest organizers.
Current rules require applicants submit permit requests two years before a projected event. Da Hui says it's unreasonable for small local organizations.
"We don't have that kind of time or money and it makes it hard that if somebody else gets it for two years and we have to wait- it also hinders our ability to get more sponsors and get more support," McGee said.
Earlier this year, the World Surfing League threatened to cancel its surfing contests in Hawaii after the city failed requests to swap permits.
But unlike Da Hui, WSL did not submit its permit applications on time.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell acknowledges rules need to be revamped and says plans are in the works to change them going forward.
Da Hui says those changes are overdue.
"They need to get a better handle on how they approve these permits because right now it's crazy, it's ridiculous," Mahina Chillingworth, Da Hui said.
"Right now it's Parks and Recreations, a group of people from parks and rec make this decision. I think that getting more input from the surfing community at large, how do we handle this very valuable asset, how do we make sure we show respect to the native Hawaiian culture who brought surfing to the rest of the world," Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.
Da Hui has appealed the city's decision. A final ruling is pending.