Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: <<Previous 1 2 3

Hawaii_Look up the term “waterman” in the Hawaiian Dictionary. In place of a written definition you’ll find an image of Duke Kahanamoku. Nah, that's not so — just kidding. However, if you know even a little about Kahanamoku (1890-1968), you know he was synonymous with surfing and swimming (as well as the spirit of aloha) in Hawaii.

The 10th annual Duke’s OceanFest, Aug. 21-28, will celebrate the 121st anniversary of Kahanamoku’s birth with water sports competitions and exhibitions including longboard surfing, tandem surfing, surfboard water polo, a one-mile swim race, and the 2011 Hawaii Paddleboard Championships. For a complete schedule of this year's OceanFest  events, click here.

The weeklong celebration of Kahanamoku’s the life and legacy will start with afternoon opening ceremonies on Sun., Aug. 21 at Hilton Hawaiian Village, followed by the Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame awards dinner at the resort in Waikiki. The 2011 inductees are: big wave surfing legend Peter Cole; Ethel Kukea, who dominated women’s surfing in Hawaii during the 1950s; Aileen Soule, a swimmer and diver who, at age 14, won a gold medal in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium; and Nainoa Thompson, who, since 1976, has played an integral part in the design, construction, sailing and navigation of the voyaging canoe, Hokulea.

If you’re in Waikiki on Wed., Aug. 24 — Duke’s birthday — have your camera ready for a 7 a.m. ceremony, during which the “Duke” statue (pictured, above), near  “Queens” surf area on Waikiki Beach, will be heavily draped in long lei strands. That day’s fest sports lineup includes the start of the Toes on the Nose longboard classic, tandem surfing and “legends contest,” all of which will continue through Fri., Aug. 26.Hawaii_

Both the Hawaii Paddleboard Championships and Duke’s Waikiki Ocean Mile Swim are set for Sat., Aug. 27. The 10-mile paddleboard race will start at 11 a.m. in Maunalua Bay, near Hawaii Kai.  The swim race, which will get under way at 9 a.m. , starts and wraps up on Waikiki Beach.

A descendant of Hawaiian royalty, Kahanamoku (pictured, left) was born and raised in Honolulu. He was almost 22 years old when he won his first Olympic gold medal. Kahanamoku went onto represent the United States in the Olympics for the next 20 years.

During the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Kahanamoku won his first Olympic gold medal and set a world record in the 100-meter free-style, and won a silver as a participant in the 200-meter relay. He won his second and third gold medals in 1920 during the Antwerp Olympics, again breaking his world record in the 100-meter free-style and setting a world record on the free-style relay team. In the 1924 Paris Olympics, he won a silver medal in the 100-meter free-style. And in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, he received a bronze medal as an alternate on the U.S. water polo team.

The organizer of OceanFest, the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, calls Kahanamoku the “father of international surfing,” and notes that museums and memorials in Australia, California, Florida, New York, Hawaii and elsewhere pay tribute to his influence on surfers and the sport of surfing.

For additional information about Duke's OceanFest and the Outriggre Duke Kahanamoku Foundation, click here.

Hawaii_Oahu_endangered species_The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to add 23 species — 20 plants and three damselflies — to its list of protected endangered species in Hawaii, under the Endangered Species Act.

As you may know, Hawaii’s natural beauty is far from impervious to environmental threats. Due largely to aggressive alien plant and pest species and our isolation in mid-Pacific, there are a total of 437 threatened and endangered species in Hawaii, according the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Service Office in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s tally is the largest nationwide. Except for California, Florida and Alabama, all other state listings top out in double and single digits, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In a press release issued by the Center for Biological Diversity, Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist with the nonprofit group said: “These unique Hawaiian species are a national treasure, and we’re thrilled they’ll be getting the Endangered Species Act protection they need to survive.”

In 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson, Ariz., petitioned to protect 19 of the Oahu species included in the proposal. The 19 species — 16 plants and the three damselflies (crimson Hawaiian damselfly, blackline Hawaiian damselfly (pictured, above), and oceanic Hawaiian damselfly) — have been waiting on the federal “candidate” list for protection for years. Candidates are species known to qualify for Endangered Species Act protection.

Last month, the Center reached a legal settlement with the Fish and Wildlife Service to expedite protection for 757 imperiled species, including 19 of the 23 proposed on Oahu. Curry said the Oahu species would likely be listed within a year.Hawaii_Oahu_endangered species_

In addition to the 19 Oahu candidates, the proposal includes four Oahu plants identified as the “rarest of the rare” by the Plant Extinction Prevention Program. Each of the four plant species has fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild and is in need of immediate conservation.

The four species of plants — all endemic to Oahu — include: Cyanea purpurellifolia (pictured, left), Cyrtandra gracilis, Cyrtandra waiolani, and Tetraplasandra lydgatei. These plant species, and about 180 others on the Hawaiian Islands, are tagged with “rarest of the rare” status, which signals need of immediate conservation, under the multiagency (federal, state, and private) Plant Extinction Prevention (PEP) Program.

The goal of PEP program is to prevent the extinction of plant species that currently have fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Hawaii.

The 20 plant species listed in the protection proposal grow in a variety of Oahu habitats and are threatened by habitat loss and foraging and trampling by invasive goats, pigs and rodents. They are also threatened by invasive insects that outcompete native pollinators.

The damselflies are threatened by agricultural and urban development, stream alteration and predation by nonnative insects. The damselflies hatch and develop in streams, small cascades of waterfalls and wet, mossy areas. They then undergo metamorphosis and become shiny-winged adults that move into the forest.

One matter of concern tied to the federal protection proposal, Curry said, is that it reduces the current acreage designated at critical habitat area— essential for the conservation of the species — in Oahu’s Koolau and Waianae mountain ranges.

In 2003, more than 55,000 acres of Oahu habitat was designated to protect 99 plant species. The new proposal trims the total critical habitat area 43,491 acres for the 99 already-listed plants and the 23 new proposed species, Curry said.

“We are concerned that today’s proposal appears to be reducing habitat that has already been designated to protect Oahu’s species, so we’ll work to make sure these rare plants and animals get the full habitat protection they need to survive,” Curry said.

For additional information about endangered and threatened species designations, click here. To download a copy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s protection proposal, click here.

Photos: (top) Kalihi Ahuoua'a Ulu Pono Ahahui, (bottom) Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife  
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