The first big swell of the season rolled in on the North Shore.
Surfers are stoked, but residents are stunned.
“I’d say it’s devastating feel for the people here,” Sunset Beach resident Gerrick Berger said.
The surf is taking a toll on beachfront homes, pulling away chunks of trees, dirt, and grass-like putty.
“Two days ago, there was about six feet of beach over here, it was maybe four to five feet tall, all that is gone now,” Berger said.
One homeowner’s ocean-front deck is now teetering on the edge, barely holding on. The stairs he uses to get to the beach was ripped off his property and dragged down to the water.
Others are watching their front yards disappear inch by inch.
“It was such a disaster this morning. I woke up and we have these stairs. Ten stairs that go down to connect to our beachfront, they were all gone,” Sunset Beach resident Kevin Emery said.
This stretch of shoreline near Sunset Beach has had its sand washed away little by little in the past year. This north swell was just the right angle to do serious damage.
“Ever since this morning, it’s all dropping off. Before, it was hanging in there, but today this small amount of swell is just enough,” Berger said.
“Mother Nature is so powerful. Never underestimate Mother Nature,” Emery said.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says beach erosion on the North Shore is a repeat problem, and in this case, there’s no quick fix. They’ll have to wait for a west swell to bring the sand back.
Residents say that’s their best bet and hope it happens soon.
“Not much we can do. Hopefully with natural elements of the ocean, it will fill in some of the gaps, but only time will tell,” Emery said.
The DLNR is advising beachfront residents in the area to call its office at (808) 587-0400 and discuss options to keep their properties from eroding.