Kauai ocean safety, state officials step up safety efforts after Guillermo

Kauai ocean safety, state officials step up safety efforts after Guillermo

POIPU, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The sky was blue and winds were light at Shipwreck Beach near Poipu on Kauai's south shore. You wouldn't know that the remnants of a tropical depression were passing just to the north of the Garden Isle. But with more storms likely during this busy hurricane season, officials are trying to keep people safe, both at the ocean and in the mountains.

Thursday's huge surf on east and south shores on Kauai had calmed down considerably a day later, but some places like Kalapaki Beach near Lihue still had waves big enough to attract the dawn patrol. Even more were riding the waves at Shipwreck's.

"Usually it's small wind swells, so when a big hurricane swell comes, you can tell the difference," said Waimea resident and photographer Kamanakai Palama.

"You know with that hurricane wrapping around up north, it brings that east wind, that east swell," said lifelong Kauai resident Don Castillo as he was just getting out of the water with his bodyboard. "Makes a nice right on this reef shelf over here now that the sand's kinda sucked in."

The big waves have kept Ocean Safety on their toes the past several days. It's already been a busy season, with the waves creating big rip currents at Poipu.

"Hurricanes come by real close and create a big swell, so it kinda just tears right through here," said lifeguard supervisor Gerald Hurd.

Hurricanes can also cause big dangers in the mountains. The state DLNR released a new safety video for the Kalalau Trail, used by half a million hikers each year in the Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park.

The six-minute video was produced by the DLNR, along with the Kauai County Fire Department and Civil Defense Agency to highlight some of the challenges hikers might face on the trail. The state closed it briefly this week because of the possibility of flash flooding from tropical cyclone Guillermo.

The officials are hoping that hikers -- and swimmers -- will take heed for any upcoming storms.

"We're tuned up and ready for anything right now," said Hurd. "Trying our best."

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