Sunset Beach shrinking just days before popular surf contest

North Shore erosion
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)
(image: Hawaii News Now)

SUNSET BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ten days ago, spectators sprawled out on the sand at Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore for the HIC PRO surf contest. But now, the beach is shrinking.

The sudden and severe case of erosion is shocking longtime North Shore residents, especially with another big surf contest just days away.

It's common for beaches to come and go with the seasons, however this is bad timing for the professional surf tour in town, and some think it could have been prevented.

There is yellow tape caution tape up at the beach warning people about the erosion because there is only a few feet of sand left before it drops dramatically.

Longtime residents of Sunset Beach say it happens every year there is a big swell when the swell come out of the north. However, they say this year is different because normally, bulldozers come out in the mid-summer and push the sand to make a man-made berm. However, residents say it didn't happen this year and it's unclear why.

"We've watched this beach change a billion times in the course of those 30 years. And yeah, there's been worse years and there's been better years, and this is gonna be I think, unless we get some west swell in, this is gonna be one of the worst ones," said Bernie Baker.

Baker says one major concern is the bike lane and locals fear it is in jeopardy of eroding as well. Baker says the bike path is very important for those on the North Shore, especially the kids. He says it was built for the children to ride their bikes, moms to push their strollers, and kids to walk hand-in-hand with their parents when going to school every day. Residents say if they lose the bike path, it will be devastating for the community.

"I really hope that the bike path doesn't disappear and erode or anything because the bike path is so key," said Katelyn Ming, who works at "The Spot" down the road.

"I bike to and from work sometimes just because it's really nice out. If it's dark and stuff, I don't want to be biking on the road. So the bike path is awesome," Ming said.

The next big surf competition at Sunset Beach is the Vans World Cup and it is slated for next week Thursday. Although the erosion won't affect the competition itself, the beach is a natural arena for spectators. So right now, spectators have nowhere to sit.

Essentially, Baker says North Shore residents want help in saving their bike path to continue to keep the kids safe. They are asking for help in getting some sand up there as soon as possible.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.