Wave pool development for Oahu’s west side backed by surf park vets

Honokea is back in the wave pool game after approval of their surf park proposal on Oahu. The $72 million facility received the green light by the Hawaii Community Development Authority last week.

The 7-1 vote allows Honokea to do a feasibility study for a parcel of vacant state land in Kalaeloa on the West Side in the vicinity of the Kalaeloa Heritage Park and the Hoakalei Country Club. The company has 18 months to develop a case for its wave pool.

Honokea has been quiet during the most recent boom in surf park developments. Their last Instagram post was over a year ago. The company burst onto the wave pool scene as a partner with NLand in the early days. However, the group parted ways with founder Doug Coors before NLand opened its gates.

In 2017 they announced they were buying land in Indio as part of a $100million wave pool development using undisclosed artificial wave generation technology. In older online reports, the project was due to open in 2019. That project was initially listed as a private development.

surf park hawaii location
The Westside of Oahu where Honokea would like to create their development in the vicinity of the Kalaeloa Heritage Park and the Hoakalei Country Club

Honokea’s plan is to use “multiple wave pools” according to the Star Advertiser. No specific wave pool tech was named in the announcement, but promotional images show a Wavegarden Cove design. The 5-acre surf lagoon will be at the center of the development and surrounded by a skate park, bungalows, SUP area and lazy river.

Hawaiian surf rescue legend Brian Keaulana, son of Buffalo and brother to Rusty Keaulana, is behind Honokea. The waterman is promoting the development as both a community resource steeped in Aloha and training facility for Hawaiian surfers and Olympic hopefuls.

Kenan “Keno” Knieriem Jr is Honokea’s co-founder and CEO. Both surfers described the project as a world-class facility that will celebrate Hawaiian culture.

Honokea Coachella
Honokea’s 2016 proposal for a wave pool development in the Coachella Valley east of Los Angeles

The company’s website states they offer a variety of authentic and engaging experiences. Each surf park program is different they state and all can be custom-tailored to the client. “A Honokea Surf Village is an active lifestyle village designed around the Hawaiian beach culture,” the company says on their website. “…for everyone to be welcome, find balance and be happy.”

Hawaii’s development authority has given the company a year and a half to assess the land, water supply and other details. Honokea will then have to negotiate a long-term lease for the parcel located on the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station.

The surf park development would be expected to generate revenue in an area often overlooked by the booming tourist industry.