Third update: Saturday 2 16 08 5.15pm.
I just received and I'm happy to publish an email from David and Suzie Dorn of Action Sports Maui with a few more details about the hearing and I'm happy to publish it.
Here is a recap of yesterday in Oahu.
We had missed the deadline to submit our testimony via e-mail or fax (the deadline was THURSDAY February 14th at 2:45) I think most people found out about this bill after 2:45 on Thursday. We found out we could submit our testimony in person so we had no choice but to fly to Oahu. David wrote a 13 page testimony regarding safety of kitesurfing and windsurfing on Maui, including photos. We phoned the Maui senators and found out there were no Maui based Senators on the land and water committee involved in SB2091. We were able to book the last 2 tickets for the 12:50 flight to Oahu. We received calls from frantic shop owners, windsurfers and kiters, that were panicking about the meeting, missing the deadline to submit their testimony and not being able to get to Oahu for the meeting. I told everyone to e-mail me their testimony and I would submit it in person. We arrived on Oahu at 1:40p.m. took a cab (no time to get a rental car) and rushed to the Senate building. We found the public information room at the Senate building where we were able to download and print all e-mail testimonies. We had to print 12 copies of each testimony. We had a giant stack of testimonies. We received e-mails from shop owners, professional sailors, a judge, international visitors, local kiters and windsurfers, and international and local associations. The meeting began a little before 3:00. Senator Clayton Hee began the meeting by stating that SB2091 was being deferred (delayed or put on hold). Senator Hee said he would not be hearing public testimony related to SB2091. David Dorn stated he wanted to testify. David Dorn's testimony stated that based on safety issues and the proven track record of co-existence with swimmers and surfers there was no need for this bill. David also stated this bill would affect hundreds of jobs, businesses and most importantly the entire community of windsurfing and kitesurfing on Maui. David told Senator Clayton Hee that we already have rules and local associations for the user groups and we all work together. David also was able to submit all testimonies that we received via e-mail.
SB2091 has only been deferred so it may come up again. Anyone who would like to have their testimony on file can send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will submit it if SB2091 comes up again.
David and Suzie Dorn
Thanks a lot to David and Suzie for getting on that plane and going to the hearing.
Ok, now that we all are a bit more relaxed, I think we should figure a way that things like these will not pass unobserved in the future. And to make this point a bit more dramatic, let me tell you the chronological sequence of the events that brought to this post, as I know it.
A Maui sailor owns a boat business and as such he's always checking all the new water related proposed regulations. One day (don't know when) he sees this proposed Bill and emails a friend of mine about it. This friend of mine is smart enough to forward it to me. I read his email at 6.45am on Thursday morning, sitting on the toilet during my morning ablutions (thank god for laptops and wireless routers). I had to be out of the door by 7am.
In 15 minutes, I go to the Senate website, realize the gravity of the proposed Bill, decide to make a post on this blog, email my testimony, start a thread on the Hot Sails Maui forum about it, send a few other emails to friends to call them to action, finish my ablutions (yes, I can multitask) and leave my house on time.
Around 11am I receive a call from Jeff (who was on the mainland), who had just read the post (because he saw the thread on the forum). I honestly had completely forgot about this, since I had been busy first and I was now getting ready to go sail.
We agree to call all the surf shops (I called a couple, he called the rest) in Kahului.
The two major surf shops I called knew nothing about it (at least the persons I spoke to) till my phone call.
And then I thought:"Wow... if I didn't take a poo this morning and checked my email in the meantime, all these people would have not known about this..."
I'm not trying to be credited with anything at all, just pointing but that what happened is pretty scary...
It should just not be possible that things like this almost get approved just because nobody knows about them!
So, windsurfing/kitesurfing business owners/employees or just simple wind/kitesurfers... let's all figure a way of being informed a bit earlier in the future. Do we only have to check that Senate webpage? Is there anything else to check? I don't know anything about how laws are proposed and approved in the States... is there anybody out there that can and want to take charge? Or just post a comment with the right procedure so that we can all be in the know?
Thanks again everybody for the help. And thanks iwindsurf.com for the nice present they sent me to thank me for the heads up they received from this blog.
Oh, I also wanted to add something else, but I forgot. Then I read Ward Churchill comment (number 37) and I remembered.
Every ocean user has the same right to enjoy their favorite activity. Unfortunately the room is limited, so we all have to share the same waves. Even though every spot is different there's a few general rules that apply everywhere: common sense and safety.
Here's some info for some wind/kitesurfers (no, dear Ward... we're not all perfect... there's plenty dickheads between us too...) who may not know or may know and don't care and with their behavior they fuck up everything for everyone:
1) surfers ALWAYS have priority on a wave. No matter how early a kite/windsurfer catches a wave, it's always the surfer's right to eventually drop in that same wave. It's the kite/windsurfer obligation to watch what the eventual surfers are doing and if one of them drops in, the kite/windsurfer should just ride the white water and don't interfere with the surfer's ride (and safety).
Personally, I even often encourage the eventual surfer about to go on a wave that I'm already on... "GO, GO, GO FOR IT!!!", so that he knows that I saw him and that I won't mind if he drops in.
2) if there's surfers out, dear kite/windsurfers... don't bloddy jump/loop/blast three feet from them!!!
Thanks again Ward, that was really important...
Here's a little clip from a recent session... how apropos!
Second update: Friday 2 15 08 5.15pm.
The bill has been deferred. Cool... what does that mean? "Delayed, put off to later" says wordreference.com.
Too much opposition, too many opposing testimonies, too many good reasons not to approve it.
Thanks to everyone who sent emails, who made phone calls, who went to the public hearing. In the next hours I should have a few more details by somebody who went there. Stay tuned.
Let's keep the guard up, because the bill has not been rejected, but only deferred.
PS1. In the meantime, today I took part to a HUGE standup paddle surfing showcase organized by my friend Bill Babcock, editor of kenalu.com.
In six hours I tried 20 boards out of... something like 50. Check their website for the results and this blog for my very own personal report in the next days.
My back has never been so sore and I'm drinking the tastiest beer of my life.
PS2. In the past six days I had four 5 stars wavesailing sessions and two 4 stars ones. I don't remember a week like this in my whole life. I should post a mini report of each single one, but I got an incredible amount of stuff to post (and other things to do). Now instead, is the start of a week of light or no wind and great waves to surf. And next weekend there's even a south swell... life is great!
First update: Thursday 3 15 08.
Ok, it's 2.45pm hawaiian time, so I guess it's too late to send testimonies via email (but if haven't done it yet, I would recommend to do it anyway!).
Thanks to all the people who sent emails and called other people to do that. Some of you also sent me the content of their emails (way more effective than mine... I wrote mine and this post at 6.50am and had to be out of the door at 7!!). Thanks for the comments too.
Let's not forget that the hearing is tomorrow Friday 2 15 08 at 2.15 in Oahu.
If you can, just get on the plane, go there and speak out loud. The more, the better.
PS. I just had an amazing sesh at the outer reef at uppers... no surfers, no swimmers, just a bunch of kitesurfers but I'm alright with those...
PPS. I also just saw Alex Aguera catch the biggest wave I've see a windsurfer on at Hookipa: over two masts high. Too bad I was driving and couldn't take a photo of it... Took a bunch of Josh Angulo, though. Stay tuned for that...
Just received an email from a friend (thanks!) that may REALLY mean disaster for the windsurfing industry/community in Maui.
Read this. For what I understand it's the Bill for an act (here details) that passed the first reading (here the history) and will have a public hearing on Friday at 2.45pm in Honolulu (Conference Room 414, State Capitol - 415 South Beretania Street).
According the first page I linked, there's the possibility to send tetimonies via email (email@example.com) or fax (586-6659 or 1-800-586-6659) at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. That's today Thursday 2 14 at 245pm.
If you read this in time, please send an email explaining that a law like this would mean a huge damage to the windsurfing related industry (shops, tourists), that in Maui is pretty big.
Please feel free to copy and paste the following text (that's what I'm going to email), if you feel like. Even better, explain your own reason for why you like or not the proposed bill.
For what I understand from the first page instruction, this MUST be the subject of the email:
Testimony to bill SB 2091 COMMITTEE ON WATER AND LAND hearing of Friday February 15, 2008 2.45pm
A law like the proposed bill SB2091 would mean a huge damage to the windsurfing related industry (shops, tourists), that in Maui is pretty remarkable.
With a 200 feet limit, in fact, a single surfer on the break will virtually mean no sailboards on the break. And that'll be the end of wavesailing at Hookipa or Kanaha when there's waves and it's windy.
At Kanaha there's already the 11 o'clock rule (no windusrfing before 11am) that leaves plenty time to surfers to enjoy the less windy hours of the day.
At Hookipa there's already the 10 man rule (no windsurfing if more than 10 surfers in the water) that protects the surfers' safety.
A rule like the proposed bill SB2091 will not be fair towards windsurfers and kitesurfers.
Please, don't pass it. Thanks.