Do as I say, not as I do.
But oh, is it rude to call the world’s greatest surfer and noted environmentalist Kelly Slater environmentally damaging? Yes, it certainly is but is it also true? To wit, the 11x world champion has circled the globe so many multiple times in carbon-dioxide spewing jets. He has also flown private, too, when he could have flown commercial spewing carbon-dioxide on top of carbon-dioxide. He invented a wave pool in water-starved central California, began a clothing company that makes clothing, manufacturers surfboards in Thailand, loves and collects Bitcoin which sucks so much energy that Elon Musk, himself, has turned his nose up at the stink.
None of these things are bad, none are necessarily even wrong, but for Slater is regularly championing the environment, its protection, its cherishing, and now he is also littering Oahu’s North Shore with self-serving sandbags that infuriate those who lean green.
Slater was fingered in a damning report, almost a year ago, for illegally installing a “burrito,” or sandbag system, in front of his Ehukai house.
In 2018, Kelly Slater, an 11-time world surfing champion who lives on Ehukai Beach by the world-famous Banzai Pipeline surf break, illegally installed a burrito. He, as well as his neighbors, were fined just $2,000.
Slater paid the fine and wrote to the Department of Land and Natural Resources last year asking it to approve his illegal structure so his home would be protected from future hurricane surf, as well as unexpected and seasonal weather. Lemmo, in response, rejected the request and underscored the seriousness of the situation.
“Unfortunately, we have reached a tipping point in which near complete loss of beach resources is a realistic future due to sea level rise and the prevalence of [densely] urbanized shoreline development,” he wrote to Slater, noting that the situation on the North Shore is particularly precarious.
Lemmo added that if the state doesn’t enforce strict policies controlling shoreline armoring “it could set in motion a [domino] effect leading to chronic beach loss.”
Well, all this time on and the face of The Ultimate Surfer has refused to clean up his mess. Per a new story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and ProPublica published an last year that found DLNR had granted 66 emergency shoreline permits to property owners across the islands. Nearly half of the permits were for properties along Oahu’s North Shore, known as the Seven Mile Miracle because of its abundance of prime surf breaks and stunning beaches.
Many of the beneficiaries are owners of multimillion-dollar homes along some of the most prized beaches in the state and include famous surfers Kelly Slater and Fred Patacchia. While DLNR says Slater’s system was installed without permission, they haven’t forced him to remove it.
The news organizations found the temporary sandbags and burrito systems are rarely removed from public beaches when they expire. Instead, state officials repeatedly have granted homeowners extensions or don’t enforce their own deadlines, while granting after-the-fact approval for structures that were built illegally.
DLNR now seems to be trying to rein in the protections, particularly along the North Shore, though none of the homeowners have been fined or faced any other enforcement action. The state can fine property owners $15, 000 a day for unauthorized structures that remain on the beach.
Not a good look but would you love if Kelly Slater simply just responded “do as I say not as I do, plebe?”
It would be bold and honest, I think.