Oahu surf meet permits are due Feb. 26 amid new gender equity changes

Mindy Pennybacker, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
·3 min read

Feb. 19—The deadline is near for surf event organizers to apply for permits to hold North Shore surf competitions at city beach parks.

Applications must be received by 4 p.m. HST Feb. 26 and may be hand-delivered or sent in via registered mail to DPR, according to the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation.

Under a triennial system instituted in July 2018, permittees will be awarded the same holding-period dates for three consecutive years, covering the winter waves seasons from 2022 through 2024.

In a statement, DPR said applicants should submit their plans based on nonpandemic circumstances, and if government COVID-19 mitigation rules are in effect as the Jan. 1 opening of the new season approaches, plans will be revisited.

In January the state canceled all surf meets indefinitely due to the pandemic.

Another consideration is recent city gender equity legislation. Bill 10, passed in December by the Honolulu City Council, mandates gender equity for sports activities requiring a park use permit, and Bill 93, which specifically requires gender equity in park permit applications for professional surf events, is moving forward with an amendment giving DPR one year to update the rules.

Many promoters weren't waiting to make changes, said Betty Depolito, a veteran North Shore contest organizer and founder of the first women's big-wave event at Waimea Bay.

"I know all the organizers are looking at their heat sheets, " Depolito said. "They don't want to be breaking the law if they leave women out."

"The World Surf League is continuing its commitment to local and international surfers, men and women, to pursue professional surfing careers in the islands, " Robin Erb, WSL senior manager of operations and marketing for North America /Hawaii, said in an email. WSL is seeking permits for North Shore events for men and women at Pipeline and Sunset Beach.

December saw the last traditional, in-person contests held on the North Shore, both at Pipeline. They were the WSL's Billabong Pipe Masters by Hydro Flask and WSL's Maui Women's Pro by Roxy, the first women's pro surf competition held on the North Shore in 10 years.

From late December through January, the North Shore's hallmark Triple Crown of Surfing was held all-digitally, with men and women submitting videos of their best waves ridden in individual free surf sessions at Haleiwa, Pipeline and Sunset Beach.

Now underway remotely through the end of the month is the Red Bull Magnitude big-wave challenge for women, who have been free-surfing and submitting videos from Waimea Bay, North Shore outer reefs and Maui's Peahi ("Jaws ").

"The girls are happy, I'm happy there's still women's big-wave surfing in Hawaii, " said Depolito, who with sponsor Red Bull voluntarily canceled her Queen of the Bay Waimea contest in October due to pandemic health concerns.

For more information and a copy of DPR's application, visit.

Applications may be hand-delivered or mailed by Feb. 26 to DPR's permit office, open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, in the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building, 1st Floor, 650 S. King St.