NORTH SHORE (HawaiiNewsNow) -As the winter surf season gets started, unprecedented coastal erosion is changing the way big events must operate.
The Vans World Cup got underway Sunday and while the crowds and surfers marveled at the impressive swell, there is plenty to be concerned about.
The erosion at Sunset Beach has gotten so bad that the World Surf League has had to move all the event structures off the beach, except for two of camera towers that get brought in after each day.
"This year, we are operating 99 percent off of the beach," said WSL Communication Director Lauren Rolland.
The organization isn’t just changing how it puts contests like this on, it’s also working year round to mitigate erosion.
WSL purchased $20,000 worth of coastal native plants and committed volunteers to plant them.
“I think that we have created a really beautiful little stretch of scenery here for people to enjoy,” Rolland said.
They've also been reminding fans that they don't have to physically be at the event to enjoy the competition.
“Our webcast is state of the art and its phenomenal to be in the comfort of your own home watching it live and not have to deal with the parking and sitting on the beach,” Rolland said.
Surf fans and North Shore residents like Chris Shumow say the efforts to deal with erosion haven’t gone unnoticed.
“It’s terrific you can see it here and I am excited about that: people taking care of the land, I think it’s wonderful,” Shumow said.
These efforts may improve things over time, but time and shoreline are beginning to run out.
“There is the potential that Sunset Beach could cease to become a venue for surf events and that’s a big reason why the WSL has gotten involved in the protection of the shoreline," Rolland said. “We want to see this place preserved for future generations of surfers.”