High surf closes West Hawaii beaches, damage reported at Kawaihae, Hapuna

Hapuna Beach (Photo: DLNR State Parks)

As surf continues to remain high along West Hawaii shores, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said Wednesday’s dangerous conditions caused damage in several areas, including Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor and Hapuna Beach.

At Kawaihae, the break wall wasn’t high enough to stop the waves.

Officials said the north side of the harbor sustained significant damage–wooden planks were torn off the dock, a damaged water line cut service to the facility, and small boulders and sand covered the area.

DLNR said engineers have yet to determine the extent of the structural damage and what needs to be done.

Photo: DLNR
Photo: DLNR

That portion of the harbor services a handful of commercial fishing, charter and scuba businesses.

KHON2 spoke to one business owner, Greg Kaufmann of Kohala Divers Siren Sportfishing, who said he was disappointed to see “that this is our busiest time of year and we know it’s going to take time to get things back in order and be able to get our boats back in there and commence business.”

No boats were damaged and while the facility remains open, users are urged to exercise caution.

Damage was mainly confined to the small boat harbor. The commercial side, where cargo ships port, sustained minor damage and continues to operate as usual.

At Hapuna Beach, damage was reported to the north lifeguard tower and a water line. Repairs need to be made before water service can be restored to the comfort stations.

The naupaka hedges in the park are covered with sand as well as the walkways and showers near the beach.

There has been some damage at some of the parks but the extent has not been determined as of yet.

Meanwhile all West Hawaii state and county beach parks were closed Thursday as high surf continued to pose a hazard.

A high surf warning remains in effect for west-facing shores of the Big Island, as well as north- and west-facing shores of Niihau, Kauai, Oahu and Molokai, and for north-facing shores of Maui.

The National Weather Service extended the warning until 6 p.m. Saturday.

The beaches affected were:

  • Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and its Waialea section
  • Lapakahi State Historical Park
  • Kekaha Kai State Park (both the Maniniowali/Kua Bay and Mahaiula sections)
  • Laaloa or Magic Sands
  • Kahaluu Beach
  • Kohanaiki Beach
  • Ooma
  • Old Airport Park
  • Kaunaoa (Mauna Kea Beach)
  • Mahukona Park

On Oahu, Waimea Bay Beach Park was reopened Thursday while the Keawaula section of Kaena Point State park remained closed.

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