Stab Magazine | Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Waikiki Beach Boys?

Live In 8 Days: Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy


Is This The Beginning Of The End For The Waikiki Beach Boys?

The beach boys saved surfing from extinction, now we owe them our support.

news // May 17, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Put it this way, without the Waikiki Beach Boys there is no surf culture.

Without Duke and the boys reviving and then sharing the high art of he’e nalu on the sands of Waikiki at the turn of the 20th Century, Waco, Texas, would still be known for cultists not wave pools and the Surf Ranch would be inundated by cattle.

After all the history and everything the beach boy tradition and livelihood means to today’s Hawaiian culture, on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, the City of Honolulu planned to evict the boys from their board racks at Kuhio Beach.

Located in front of the famous bronze statue of Duke, if you had to pinpoint the birthplace of surfing, it’d probably be here. In 2017, the permit to run the surf concession was awarded to a company called Dive Oahu run by Brian Benton.

“About 18 months ago a friend came to the Island and made me do stuff I normally never do,” posted Benton in April 2017 (the post has since been deleted). “We went to the beach and sat in the sand and watched the waves and the surfers in the hot sun in Waikiki. While she was looking at all the hot guys I was looking at the dollars being made by renting chairs, umbrellas, surfboards. Within a day I started looking for a contract.”

Perhaps Dive Oahu has forgotten where this all came from?

City politics is typically dirty business, and the Dive Oahu case is no different. Not long after that April post, Benton was granted the contract – in which he agreed to pay the city more than 52-percent of his monthly gross revenues. Now, the companies that had run the beach boy stands, Hawaiian Ocean and Star Beachboys, believe they were cut out of the permit negotiation process.

They are alleging that Dive Oahu’s permit is strictly financially motivated and does not take into account the experience, expertise, tradition and contributions of the beach boys over the past century.

“In 2017, the City erred on a decision to award Dive Oahu one concession stand on Kuhio Beach. After Hawaiian Ocean’s disputed the award in court, the process was nullified. Immediately after this decision, the City hastily re-categorized the process and re-worded parts of it,” reads a portion of a statement issued by the company. “Dive Oahu was awarded a contract for both concession stands. There were no public hearings to correct the process’ initial errors. Hawaiian Ocean’s is concerned by the City’s lack of transparency and due process. No company has ever held two long-term contracts for the Kuhio Beach concession stands simultaneously.”

“This means a lot for us beach boys,” said Makaha waterman Rusty Keaulana, who showed up at the rally this week.

Standing alongside his father, Buffalo, and a large crowd of motivated watermen, he continued, “If this can happen here it can happen on our side too. The whole thing is the culture of Waikiki. What is a beach boy? We look up to the Duke…my whole thing was to try and be like the Duke and how are we gonna teach our young generation?”

A hearing is now scheduled for 10:00 am on Thursday morning where a judge who will hear the case for a temporary restraining order. The goal is to push the transition back until July 6, when the same judge will preside over an injunction hearing to determine the final fate of the concession permits.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

How To Win Stab High Japan, Presented By Monster Energy

A statistical analysis of the 493 airs attempted in previous chlorinated editions.

Jun 16, 2024

Watch: An Intimate Portrait Of The Wave, Village, And People At The End Of The Road

Oxbow’s ‘Children of Teahupo’o’ is playing exclusively on Stab Premium for the next two weeks. 

Jun 15, 2024

Fuck It, Run The Entire CT In Indo

A historic beginning to the Indonesian dry season.

Jun 14, 2024

Ferrari Boyz: Holly Wawn

"I've had 4, 5, maybe 6 cars... I'm a car dealer I reckon."

Jun 13, 2024

A Miscalculated Shallow Dive, Neck-First, Into The Waters Of Japanese Surfing

How is surfing different in the land of cherry blossoms?

Jun 13, 2024

How Has Ian Crane Made 4/5 Stab High Finals?

And who he's most afraid of competing against in Japan.

Jun 13, 2024

“I Haven’t Seen Anyone That Young And That Keen For Heavy Waves In A Decade” —Shane Dorian

Jacob Turner is 16 years old and trying to paddle tow sets at Teahupo'o...on his…

Jun 12, 2024

Long Read: 1,000 Ways To Die In Indonesia

18,000 islands of beautiful people, world-class waves, and danger around every corner.

Jun 11, 2024

Watch: Craig Anderson And Kaito Ohashi Find (Mostly) Empty Waves In Southeast Asia

Oh, and enter to win a grand worth of DB gear.

Jun 11, 2024

Brad Gerlach Rode A 600cc Motorbike Through Europe’s 1980’s Psychedelic Renaissance  

"Fuck London. Let’s just buy motorcycles tomorrow and drive to France, man."

Jun 11, 2024

Caroline Marks Goes Two-In-A-Row And John John Florence Wins First CT Event Since 2020 At The Surf City El Salvador Pro

Plus, we asked Chris Cote for a look into the commentary team's psyche and Griff…

Jun 9, 2024

Why Is Mavericks Core Getting Overrun By Yuppies?

And other questions from our audience — answered by Pete Mel, Mick Fanning, and Joel…

Jun 9, 2024

Everything Worth Remembering From 4 (Mostly) Forgettable Quarterfinals In El Salvador

Plus, what's the consensus on the Griff vs. João kerfluffle?

Jun 8, 2024

Wildcard Big-dogs Italo, Yago Pops The Cork, And Griffin Cops An Ambiguous Interference On Day 2 In El Salvador

"Honestly, that was a bad... uhh I mean, a tough call." - Strider

Jun 8, 2024

Let’s Talk About This Griffin Interference…

"Don't hate the player, hate the game." - Joao Chianca.

Jun 8, 2024

Chippa Wilson Picks The Air Section We’ll Be Using For Stab High Japan Presented By Monster Energy

PerfectSwell Shizunami has 4 ramps to choose from — which one excites our 2019 champ?

Jun 8, 2024

JJF And Yago Soar, Brisa And Molly Sear, And Olympic Surfers Get Drug Tested On Day 1 Of Surf City El Salvador Pro

"These rocks are like basketballs covered in slime."

Jun 7, 2024

Cheat Codes: Optimizing Surfing’s Pain-To-Joy Ratio With Mason Ho

How to keep your skull intact, your forecast accurate, and your morale unbothered — no…

Jun 6, 2024