The Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge is one of the longest running paddle-sport races in California, featuring OC-1, surfski, traditional paddleboard, standup paddleboard and kayak. This year’s races on Saturday will take place amid controversy across West Mission Bay Drive from the start/finish line.
- Saturday, January 27, 2018, 7 a.m.
1100 W. Mission Bay Drive,
In the late 1940s, sand and silt were dredged to create Mission Bay. When the Bahia Resort Hotel opened in 1953 on the north side of West Mission Bay Drive at Gleason Road, it was the first commercial lessee on the bay. Today, the Bahia boasts 313 rooms. Bracketed by Ventura and Santa Barbara coves, the resort’s footprint takes up all of Bahia Point, save for public access to restrooms and parking along the eastern and northern shoreline. The resort owner, Bill Evans, has had a plan in the works for some years now to eliminate the 250 public parking spaces along the water and relocate them further from the shoreline.
On January 2, The Mission Bay Park Committee voted that the Bahia Development Plan is consistent with the Mission Bay Master Plan. Evan’s overall plan after getting final approval would expand the current 315 rooms to 600 and add a 10-foot walkway and 20-foot grass area around the eastern and north shoreline, turning the current parking area into a park.
Most that oppose the planned expansion worry about parking and access. The location makes it easy of unload and walk to a launch-able beach. Parents of young children like the play area steps from parking.
Leading up to this week’s Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge, paddling groups have been abuzz on social media about the planned development at the Bahia resort. Many showed up to the January 2nd meeting to voice their disapproval, and even though the initial vote in the process went in the developer’s favor, the paddling community is calling for groups like the Coastal Conservancy and the Surfrider Foundation to join the effort. Though the plan was approved by the Park and Recreation Advisory Board on January 18th, it still must be okayed by the city council and then the state coastal commission.
The Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge will take place across West Mission Bay Drive at Bonita Cove to the south of the Bahia. With over 600 entrants last year, the parking lots between Mission Beach and the bay there provide ample space for the event. The race courses are 4.5 miles and 9 miles long; the short course starting at Bonita Cove in Mariner’s Basin, goes past SeaWorld and turns along Fiesta Island, then out and around Vacation Isle and returns to Bonita cove. The long course starts at Bonita Cove, goes out Mission Bay Channel, along the coast north to Crystal Pier, turns offshore about a mile, around the Yukon buoy and returns to the Mission Bay and Bonita Cove.