John Aiwohi relishes playing volleyball on the white sands of world-famous Waikiki Beach every day.
But the Honolulu resident and others will be banned from a half-mile stretch of the beach in mid-November, when President Barack Obama hosts a meeting for Asia-Pacific leaders in the city where he was born.
Security checkpoints, barricades and street closures planned for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference are unprecedented for Waikiki, a tourist haven better known for surfers and mai tais.
Waikiki hasn't seen such heavy security since the military lined the beaches with barbed wire after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The blanket of security has many who come to Waikiki each day grumbling. They wonder why leaders can't meet somewhere less congested, like another Hawaiian island or on a military base that has plenty of security.
"Did they really have to pick Waikiki to come for APEC?" Aiwohi asked during a break before going back on the sand court for a two-on-two game. "It's going to be a hassle. I understand what they're trying to do with this thing, convention and all, but really? Right here?"
Aiwohi, 38, knows people living in Waikiki who are planning to move in with relatives and friends during the meeting to avoid the congestion caused by the 24-hour roadblocks and presidential motorcades.
The conference is hosted by a different member nation or economy each year. Last year, it was in Yokohama, Japan. The last time it was in the U.S, in 1993, President Bill Clinton had it on Blake Island near Seattle.
Officials point out APEC is expected to bring in millions in revenues into this cash-strapped state and priceless attention.
Local leaders see the meeting as a chance to show off Hawaii as not only a vacation destination but an ideal place to do business. They're hoping conference photos and video beamed around the world will convince more people to visit the islands and support the state's biggest industry, tourism.
Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said the broader community "gets it" and is happy to host the delegates.
"Even though we live in Hawaii, where the sun is shining and it's beautiful, there are some people who grumble every day," Carlisle said in an interview Friday.
The conference will put Honolulu on the world stage and allow the city to show it's the "Geneva of the Pacific" _ or a place where government officials come for face-to-face meetings, he said.
"It's very clear to virtually all of the leaders in the entire state that APEC is a golden opportunity that we have to be extremely thankful to President Obama for affording us," Carlisle said.
Residents should plan ahead and check the city's website for advice on avoiding traffic and to learn about changes to bus routes and trash pickup schedules, the mayor said. The city doesn't want APEC to overwhelm everyday life, he said.
But the security restrictions will mean at least part of Waikiki will have a starkly different look than normal.
No boats or swimmers will be allowed in the water in front of a half-mile stretch of Waikiki on Nov. 12, the day of the leaders' reception and dinner. That area of the beach is in front of the sprawling 3,543-room Hilton Hawaiian Village _ the state's biggest hotel _ and Hale Koa Hotel, where Obama is hosting the leaders' diner.
Swimmers will be allowed in the water in front of the Sheraton, but no boats will be allowed in that part of the ocean on Nov. 12. Surfing, swimming and boating will be allowed off the rest of Waikiki beach near the Duke Kahanamoku statue, Waikiki Aquarium and Kapiolani Park.
The restrictions make resident Jen Tadish wonder what Hawaii is going to show off to the rest of the world.
"How are you going to showcase that when you've kicked everybody else out? It's like, `Where's the surfers, where's the swimmers, where's the paddle boarders?'" said Tadish during a break from a ukulele lesson at a Waikiki park one recent afternoon.
Tadish, 39, said it would be better if the leaders gathered on one of Oahu's many military bases.
Kelly Slater, a 10-time world surfing champion, is complaining. This past week he wrote on Twitter, "Why on Earth is it necessary to block surfing/public beaches thru taxpayer dollars to hold a conference in Waikiki?"
Shirley Cornish, a retiree who was visiting Waikiki with her husband, said people will just have to put up with inconvenience. Their hometown _ Sydney, Australia _ hosted APEC in 2007, but the couple managed to avoid the leaders because they happened to be vacationing in Waikiki at the time.
They hope the meeting helps the city and the state.
"I hope it all goes well. I think Honolulu deserves it because it's a lovely place to visit," Cornish said.
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