Da Hui has never been a company to shy away from controversy, especially when it comes to Hawaii. So when the ASP began running three and two man heat formats (instead of the four man format), they decided to do something about it – and not through playground scare tactics.
Da Hui is suing the ASP. Local legislation is clear about the format: in each heat, there always needs to be four people in the water. And when Da Hui brought it up to a judge, he agreed. But although the law clearly states that two-man heats aren’t allowed, two man heats are still being run. According to the Honolulu Government’s legislature pertaining to “shore water events,”
…surf meets may not be held for more than four days. No heats shall be structured with less than four surfers, and man-on-man or one-on-one heats shall not be allowed (includes trials).
But the ASP may have found a little loophole – they’re overlapping heats, running two two-man heats together. This ensures that there are four people in the water at nearly all times, except for the final. According to the ASP, though, they have a variance from the city that allows them to run the heats the way they want. “We actually have a variance with the city and the state,” they said to KGMB. “It allows us to run the format that we want to. We’ve been running man-on-man heats at the Pipe Masters since 2008.”
A few months ago, Eddie Rothman threw down a very vocal gauntlet in response to the new system that sees less local surfers in the water. With the local wildcard slots trimmed from 16 to 2, Rothman wasn’t happy. “Now that you threw this fuckin’ stone… you threw a punch. You don’t want to fight now?” he said. “Fuck you. It’s 16.”
So while time will tell how this plays out, chances are good that it’s not the end of the drama. The ASP’s presence in Hawaii will never be fully accepted, at least not by many that live there.