No matter who claims to be the first or best to surf it, or whether you want to call the place Manawai’iao, Pe’ahi, or simply Jaws, it has been there long before anyone could strap a name on it. The community on Maui aims to keep it that way, free and independent. With the land around the famous surf break now up for sale, local organizations, surfers, and concerned community members are rallying to preserve it from development, ultimately saving it for future generations. A non-profit called Malama Hamakua has been started to fight for the land and bring community members together asking the county government to set aside $9.5 million from existing open space funds to purchase the Maui North Shore coastline, which will hopefully be finalized by July unless it is vetoed by the mayor. The county council members in response have requested more community support to justify the purchase.
On Saturday, May 14th, the locals that enjoy this special place showed their love and gave back. Roughly 200 people gathered to clean the land and coastal area in the first official public cleanup at Jaws. All along the dirt road leading to the viewing area were piles of trash, evidently being used as dump sites for people who are either too lazy or don’t have enough money to go to the landfill. Seven abandoned vehicles are still scattered throughout the road, while mounds of broken surfboard material, fishing nets, plastics of all kind, and even debris from Japan were hauled off the coast. Jet ski assistance was necessary to bring three giant nets, gathering the debris, and a helicopter to lift out of the more remote areas of the coastline. To pay homage and reduce more landfill trash, the salvaged surfboard material is being used to make a sculpture. The sculpture will be auctioned off, with the funds raised benefiting the management and purchase of the land.
All eyes are on Jaws during the winter, bringing onlookers and surfers from all over the world. But once the waves subside, so do the people, leaving in their wake more garbage every year. Those days of ingratitude are coming to an end and communal appreciation is taking hold. Now that the land is in top shape it is looking ever more appealing to purchase for the people.
Editor’s note: No matter where you are in the world you can help by letting the Maui county council hear why you think it should be preserved with an email testimony sent to firstname.lastname@example.org