Kailua Beach Park: The Anti-Waikiki
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“A safe, big open park.”
“That’s it ladies, five left!” A circle of 13 moms, all on colorful yoga mats, surround instructor Becky Zienkiewicz as she calls out different calisthenics. The women do crunches, push-ups and planks. The Eagles play on Zienkiewicz’s iPhone and mini speakers. Some women have babies in nearby strollers, a couple of them have to momentarily leave the workout to chase down their wandering toddlers.
Zienkiewicz leads Stroller Strides, fitness classes for women, using, you guessed it, strollers. It’s part of the national organization Fit 4 Mom. The Kailua native says she took over the Windward franchise about a year and a half ago. “No one said anything about a permit,” she says, her daughter playing behind her. She then started attending community meetings, along with some other moms, “even during nap time,” she says, to seek out more information and petition to get a permit, but it didn’t happen. Then, one day, a police officer asked them to leave the beach park; the class, for which Zienkiewicz charges each woman $60 a month, violated the commercial-activity ban.
These are the sort of gymnastics Zienkiewicz has to go through: The thrice-weekly classes now take place at Lanikai Beach Park. But Zienkiewicz had to go through a formal process to hold workouts there, and she pays dues (totaling 7 percent of what she makes from Fit 4 Mom), neither of which was required at Kailua Beach Park. “It was important for me to keep it going,” she says, adding that, while she’d prefer to be at Kailua Beach Park, she’s thankful to be at Lanikai. Outside of exercising, the women also hold a monthly girls’ night out and do community events around town.
But, every Tuesday, from 8:45 to 10 a.m., you’ll find Zienkiewicz and a dozen of her students all with similar three-wheeled strollers jogging along the bike path in Kailua Beach Park. But this class is now described as a social get-together. Almost a year into the ban, Zienkiewicz says they can be at the park without anyone bothering them, they just can’t hold regular classes there.
“It’s a shame we can’t be here, this is what parks are for,” says Kari Graden, who has attended Stroller Strides since her daughter, now 7 months old, was a newborn.
“This has been such a godsend,” adds Molly Pearl, who has a son and an infant daughter. “It’s a wonderful gift to be able to work with our kids and not worry about childcare. The women aren’t clique-y—this helps with our sanity!”
In a stroller-pushing, baby-bag-toting pack, the women cross the street to grab food and socialize at Kalapawai Market. Zienkiewicz is the last to head out. “Kailua beach is a big, open park,” she says, looking out to the water. “It’s safe, it has a paved path.”
Policing the beach
$500: The fine for violating the commercial activity ban at Kailua and Kalama beach parks. Lawbreakers can also spend up to 30 days in jail.
50: The number of citations HPD issued in 2012 for violation of the commercial activity ban.
0: The number of citations HPD has issued so far in 2013.
Source: Honolulu Police Department