Some North Shore homes return to picture-perfect - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Some North Shore homes return to picture-perfect

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NORTH SHORE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It's a dramatic difference.  In October, the North Shore home of professional surfer Fred Patacchia was close to washing away, high-surf swallowed the backyard and pool.  But today, the beachfront is picture-perfect, with vacationing renters sunbathing on the shore. 

Patacchia's father, Fred Sr., says they trucked in some sand from a nearby stream to fill the backyard and pool, but the shoreline along Sunset Beach returned on its own.  Part of the natural cycle of the sand.

In the summer months, trade winds push the currents, which push sand from Sunset Beach toward Rocky Point.  It accumulates there until the winter swells push the sand back to Sunset Beach.  It's called seasonal beach erosion.

This exchange has worked for decades, but this year, both sections saw extreme erosion.

In December, About five Rocky Point homes teetered, some residents sawed off the back decks, hoping to avoid a tug-of-war with the sea. 

"If you take the pictures of today's westerly end of Rocky Point, and you come here in July, you will be surprised how you won't even see that reef," says Patacchia. 

But there is also long-term erosion happening along the stretch.  Sam Lemmo with the Department of Land & Natural Resources says the area is losing about a foot of sand every year.

Lemmo says long-term erosion and a potentially rising sea level, will impact the area.

"We can expect these events to be more frequent and severe," says Lemmo.  But, he admits, experts can't predict which part of the beach will be hardest hit and when.

Neighbors have been meeting to come up with a plan for a seawall to protect the shore.  A plan that would require numerous permits and studies and could take years. 

Some owners are consulting with engineers to find other solutions.   They know they can't simply wait for the next delivery of sand from the sea.

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