HI - Winter swells could bring back beach, but long-term fix elusive

Fallen Kaanapali beachwalk reignites debate over future of shoreline properties

Winter swells on the horizon could trigger “some degree of beach recovery” for a section of shoreline in Kaanapali where a popular beachwalk recently collapsed, but conditions “could possibly get even worse before getting better,” a coastal researcher said this week.

Residents, government officials and shoreline property owners are struggling for solutions after trees fell into the ocean, portions of the beachwalk crumbled and roots and pipes were exposed last week — a climax to the heavy ongoing erosion in the area due to a large number of summer swells.

Rebuilding the walkway, a resort operator official said, “will be an engineering challenge given the current conditions,” and state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials had no immediate fixes for the area.

“Shoreline conditions could possibly get even worse before getting better with those first swells, in the time it takes for the sand to be redistributed to recreate a sandy buffer,” said Coastal Hazards Specialist Tara Owens of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program.

She said the winter swells will trigger some degree of beach recovery for certain properties located at or north of Hanakaoo Point, including Kaanapali Alii and The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach.

Read more.