By Leland Kim
WAIKIKI (KHNL) - There's a lot more elbow room at Waikiki, thanks to a project that pumps the sand from the ocean back on to the beach.
Over the years, the ocean has washed away parts of this valuable Waikiki real estate.
"Well, it was too small, too cramped, and people were sitting on top of one another," said Anita Parisi, an avid beachgoer and a Makiki resident.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources has hired a dredging company to pump about 10,000 cubic yards of sand back onto Kuhio Beach. And the result is dramatic.
"Where portions of this beach used to be up to the sea wall, now there's 30 to 40 feet of beach between the wall and water," said Peter Young, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Beachgoers welcome the improvement.
"Fantastic! I mean, I love it!" said Parisi. "It reminds me of California in the old days."
"We think it's a great idea," said Dale Hrynuik, a beachgoer. "We've been coming here since 1978 from Canada. The beaches have always been great, they're going to open up here more, and I think it's going to be a great place."
The price tag on this project is close to half a million dollars. But despite the hefty sum, officials say it's a bargain compared to hauling sand in, which would have cost almost twice as much. Still visitors say they appreciate efforts to keep Waikiki beautiful.
"My husband and I lived in Europe with the Air Force, and we've been to several places: Germany, France, and Spain, but this is the best beach we've ever been to," said Ana Ward, a beachgoer from Washington, D.C.
And thanks to this project, there's more beach to stretch out and work on your tan.