A company that wants to build a surf park on Oahu says the $72 million facility could include Hawaii's first man-made barreling wave.
The centerpiece of Honokea's proposed aquatic recreation park would be a lagoon with multiple simultaneous waves for surfers, body boarders and body surfers, The Hawaii Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority voted 7-1 Wednesday to give Honokea permission to explore the feasibility of constructing the “surf village” on vacant state land in Kalaeloa, 23 miles (37 kilometers) west of Honolulu.
HK Management, doing business as Honokea, was established by local big-wave surfer and ocean safety expert Brian Keaulana and co-founder Kenan Knieriem Jr.
The surfing facility would offer year-round waves for all levels and provide training for professionals and Olympic team members, they said.
“Our surfers are going elsewhere to practice," Keaulana said. "The ocean can only provide (so much).”
The development authority gave Honokea 18 months to evaluate the site, including assessing the land and underground water supply, and negotiate terms for a long-term lease.
The surf village may be an acceptable conditional use under rules for the site that has rural/open space zoning and is next to the Kalaeloa Heritage Park, an authority staff report said.
The facility could generate lease revenue that would not otherwise be possible for a remnant of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station that is sometimes used by firefighters for chainsaw training, the report said.
Knieriem declined to set a development timetable because the project still requires an environmental study, design work and financing if the site proves feasible.
“The big question for us is just, is this site viable,” Knieriem said.