Kuhio Beach sand disappearing due to erosion hot spot
WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A beach in Waikiki is rapidly disappearing despite a recent project to replenish the sand. The erosion exposed an old foundation during the past two months, and now the state and city are trying to figure out the next step.
The erosion hot spot is right in front of Hawaiian Oceans' rental business on Kuhio Beach. City crews put up yellow caution tape, but some visitors still trip on the uneven surface.
"It's an eyesore, but it's just really dangerous for the older people and younger kids," said Hawaiian Oceans surf instructor John Paul Kaleopaa.
"It's a situation that makes us uncomfortable because not necessarily just for the public health and safety, but just by virtue of the fact that it's such a heavily used area by visitors," said Sam Lemmo of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The state wrapped up a major project to replenish the sand between Kuhio Beach and the Royal Hawaiian groin last May. The DLNR, Hawaii Tourism Authority, and Kyo-ya Hotels split the $2.3 million cost, but the sand in this spot eroded faster than expected.
"It exposed an old foundation of a home or a clubhouse that probably dated back to the 1920's," said Lemmo.
Some longtime beach boys believe that the removal of two nearby groin structures caused the problem, but the state doesn't want to jump to any conclusions.
"It's being caused by a number of factors including possibly persistent trade wind swell, unusual wave direction, possibly the man-made structures in Waikiki are having an influence," Lemmo said.
Short-term solutions include removing the foundation or burying it under more sand. Coming up with a permanent fix will take time.
"I wish this would be more improved cause with the erosion of the sand, the way it looks, I don't think it really exemplifies what Hawaii truly is," said surfer Cory Lund.
"I've been here for 28 years and I've never seen it this bad, and I really, really hope it doesn't get worse," Kaleopaa said.
Experts from the city, DLNR, Department of Health, and Army Corps of Engineers will visit this site on Thursday to discuss possible solutions.
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