Don’t look now, but Baywatch is pulling up stakes from its California home and moving to the North Shore of O’ahu. After union disputes in the Aloha State nearly sent the top-grossing series to Australia, an eleventh-hour deal was worked out.
Show executives say the move will give the series a “fresh face” and will likely bring in millions of dollars to the local economy.
“There’s a lot of hype going on around town that merchants are spending money to improve their landscaping to draw in film crews¿and ultimately tourists¿to their locations,” says Howard Greene, North Shore Marketplace owner.
Some shop owners have even gone as far as saying that the filming of Baywatch in Hawai’i may ultimately be the turning point for a state that has been suffering financially.
Yet not everyone is stoked. Several residents of the North Shore¿where the Baywatch crew will set up their lifeguard headquarters¿are giving the thumbs down on the venture.
TransWorld SURF Business asked some North Shore residents what they thought of the television show relocating to Hawai’i:
Noah Johnson (pro surfer): “I love it. It’s funny. More comedy, more chicks, more money for the boys, and more entertainment all around.”
John Pyzel (surfboard shaper): “It’s going to cause mass traffic problems, increased land values, overcrowding, and a lot of skinny girls in G-strings. I just want to know if Slater is going to make a comeback on it or not.”
Derek Doerner (big-wave legend): “A lot of opportunities.”
Rick Williams (North Shore lifeguard): “You can’t always believe everything you see on television.”
Brock Little (pro surfer): “I’m happy. There will be a lot of opportunities for the lifeguards on the North Shore. The North Shore is known for its lack of girls, and Baywatch will help that out. And more girls will help out our economy.”
Brenden Shea (North Shore lifeguard): “I would rather it went somewhere else.”
Shaun Briley (pro surfer): “It’s good for the economy. I don’t know what Baywatch is going to do to the North Shore as a whole¿like to the beaches and having the people from Los Angeles here¿that whole scene. It’s good that it’ll bring jobs into the islands for union members and the water patrol. It’s definitely going to help economically, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good or right. I don’t know, it doesn’t seem like there are too many bad ways to look at it.”
Fred Pattachio (pro surfer): “I think there’s a good side and a bad side. All of the chicks that’ll be here will be great and the economy is going to get better, but they’ll have to do a bunch of construction to Haleiwa and build a new Baywatch center and all that goes along with it. I just don’t know how that’s going to go with the local people. I hope there won’t be good waves on the days they’re filming.”
Abe Learner (North Shore lifeguard): “Oh well!”
Bodo Van der Leiden (North Shore lifeguard captain): “It’s going to be good. It’s going to help the local economy, and I don’t think it’ll interfere with us. We’ll work with them and help them provide the type of entertainment they’ve been providing, and who knows? There might be some spin-off that’ll be mutually beneficial for both sides.”
Doctor Austin Yeardan: “In general it’s a good thing. It’ll zip up the economy a little bit. Hawai’i has fallen out of favor as the primary tourist destination. This might just bring it back.”
Moe Lerner (Haleiwa Joe’s restaurant owner): “It’s going to be good. It’s going to let the outside world know about Haleiwa Joe’s. I hope the people will come in here from Baywatch and consider this place home.”
Johnny Moore (Strong Current surf-shop owner): “It’s a wonderful thing that they chose the North Shhore¿Haleiwa Beach Park is a beautiful setting. The only concern I have is that of most other residents, that they’re going to tie up the surf spot while they are shooting. Other than that, God bless them.”