Surfers and SUP users confront the issues of coexistence



Photography & Story by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Over 100 people packed the Aupuni Center conference room in Hilo Wednesday night (Feb 9) as surfers and stand-up paddleboard users met following an outcry for restrictions on the use of SUP in surf spots.

A group called the Big Island Safe Surfing Alliance set-up a BISSA Facebook page and has gathered about 200 signatures on a petition asking for restrictions on SUP use in surf spots on the Big Island according to BISSA spokesman Tom Yeh. Concerns were aired about safety, respect towards each other and the etiquette of surfing.

The popularity of Stand-Up Paddleboarding or SUP has taken-off and with the limited number of surf breaks on the Big Island conflicts have arisen as bodyboarders, surfers, SUP users and others vie for the waves. Into this mix of ocean athletes are users who are inexperienced and need a place for safe practice and guidance.

The meeting felt some heat as surfers and SUP users told of their various problems with the mix of surfers and SUP with some taking both sides as some both surf and SUP. The group debated what regulations might bring by restricting ocean sports in surf spots.

A future meeting is being planned to be held at Honolii surf spot to continue the discussion.