Waikiki beach boys: sharing aloha with visitors and tourists | Photo: Light/Creative Commons

The legendary Waikiki beach boys are being taken over by Dive Oahu, the company that won two surf concession stands in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The decision to move the iconic surf instructors away from the beach could put an end to a 100-year tradition that gave birth to surfing as a sport and pastime.

Dive Oahu is taking over two surf concession stands - Star Beachboys and Hawaiian Oceans - and will introduce uniforms and electronic filing systems in the business activity.

The new contractor says that those conditions are part of the contract that the city drew up, but the beach boys are not happy with the decision, and some say they will not work in the new concession.

"Whether we stay or we have to go, I'm here to support the beach boys. I'm one of them myself. A big concern that we have is what's going to happen with them because they will refuse to work for the new company," said Aaron Rutledge, owner of Star Beachboys.

Tourists, Beach Boys and Surfing

Duke Kahanamoku was one of the first Waikiki beach boys. Back in the early 1900s, he pioneered the practice of taking tourists into the surf to experience wave riding.

The growth of tourism in Hawaii is profoundly connected with the introduction of surfing to foreigners. But the Waikiki beach boys did much more than merely giving surf lessons and renting surfboards.

As full-time lifeguards, they saved hundreds of lives and shared the Hawaiian sailing tradition with the visitors, for example, by taking tourists on outrigger canoe rides and tours.

"The wages these guys are proposing to pay is equivalent to 1960 working in the Dole Plantation," adds Thomas Copp, a legendary member of the Palekaiko Beach Boys Club.

Da Hui have already shown their solidarity with the Waikiki beach boys. They feel insulted by Dive Oahu and the local authorities.

"We will fight to save their beach stands and our Hawaiian culture of teaching surf lessons and sharing aloha. Surfing started here, and now one haole come in with zero experience," the surf group stated.

"All kanakas stand for what our kupuna have done. We need to teach our keikis our surfing culture. Ku'i Kalo and hula are not lost."

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