Kailua Beach, O’ahu Island, Hawai’i; By Chip Fletcher

Posted In Beach of the Month, Features
Mar
1

Kailua Beach

By Chip Fletcher, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai΄i

Kailua Beach, a beautiful 30 minute drive from busy Waikiki, lies on the east side of the Hawaiian Island of O’ahu. This white-sand beach is the signature characteristic of the bedroom community of Kailua, formerly a sleepy beach town that has been discovered by tourists and is experiencing the bustle of redevelopment. Kailua beach is two and a half miles long and was identified by Conde Naste magazine as the best beach in the United States in 1998. Kailua means “two currents in the sea.” It is a carbonate beach composed of sands produced by the offshore fringing reef (mollusk and coral fragments, grains of calcareous and coralline algae, Pleistocene limestone rock fragments, and echinoderm particles) during the late Holocene sea-level high stand that was endemic to Pacific islands 2,000-4,000 years ago.

Kailua Beach Park lies at the south end of the beach. The 35-acre park, which includes a public boat ramp in the lee of Alala Point, has been the center of windsurfing on O’ahu since the sport was introduced in the 1970s. An area marked by buoys along the park’s shore is reserved for swimmers.

Popoi’a Island, popularly known as Flat Island, is one quarter of a mile seaward of the boat ramp and is easily reached by a competent swimmer. Popoi’a means “rotten fish,” and may refer to offerings that were left at a former fishing shrine in the middle of the island. The tsunami of 1946 destroyed the remnants of the shrine. Landing is permitted on the island’s small sand beach, although Popoi’a is part of the Hawai’i State Seabird Sanctuary. A popular surf site known as Flat Island breaks on a shallow reef on the island’s south side.

Many days are marked by brisk tradewinds blowing onshore which prevent this beach from being an “ideal” tourist setting. But in the lee of Popoi’a, conditions at the beach park are typically enjoyable and dozens of local families set up camp on weekends to enjoy the sun, relatively calm waters, and party atmosphere.

Before heading to any Hawaiian beach, check the beach safety website and ALWAYS swim near a lifeguard:
Chip Fletcher, University of Hawai΄i

Living on the Shores of Hawaii: Natural Hazards, the Environment, and Our Communities
(with contributions from Beaches of Oahu by John R. K. Clark )

Tags:

More / Beach Of The Month

Management Strategies for Coastal Erosion Processes; By Nelson Rangel-Buitrago

June 1st, 2018

The Special Issue Management Strategies for Coastal Erosion Processes (MSforCEP) presents an international collection of papers related to the implementation of various management strategies for coastal erosion under specific objectives.

Read More

Sand volcanos on a flat and sandy beach in the Netherlands; By Bert Buizer, PhD

May 1st, 2018

In 2013, some interesting water escape structures were observed near the coastal resort of Bergen aan Zee, in the Netherlands.

Read More

Te Pito O Te Henua shore (Rapa Nui or Easter Island): a remote and mysterious place with rare beaches; By Nelson Rangel-Buitrago, William J. Neal & Adriana Gracia

April 1st, 2018

One of the most remote and youngest inhabited volcanic islands in the world is Te Pito o Te Henua Island, or as more commonly known: Easter Island (Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua). World famous for its mysterious monumental statues (moai) erected by the early Rapa Nui people, the island is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean nearly 3,650 km west of Chile.

Read More

Newfoundland’s Sandy Beaches: A Glacial Legacy; By William J. Neal & Joseph T. Kelley

February 1st, 2018

“Newfoundland” as a coastal place does not conjure up images of sandy beaches, but rather scenes of wave-cut rocky cliffs, bird rookeries on small rock islands, sea stacks, and boulder and cobble beaches if wave deposits are present. But scattered among the latter are genuine sand beaches.

Read More

Torrevieja, Spain; By Norma J. Longo

January 1st, 2018

Torrevieja, a former fishing village on the southeast coast of Spain (Costa Blanca) in Alicante province, is now a thriving tourist city with a 2016 population of around 85,000, down from a high of over 105,000 in 2013.

Read More

The rugged coast and black sand beaches of the Azores; By Gary Griggs

December 1st, 2017

A soft, white sandy beach on a lush green island is probably the vision many people have of their perfect coastal vacation. Eight hundred and fifty miles west of Portugal and 2400 miles east of Boston lies the lush island of São Miguel in the Azores. It is one of nine islands making up an archipelago spread across 300 miles of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Read More

Colombia’s Tayrona National Natural Park: A Caribbean Coast Gem; By Nelson Rangel-Buitrago & William J. Neal

October 1st, 2017

Colombia’s Caribbean coast has a rich geological, biological and cultural diversity that is reflected in the complex coastal zone extending from the border of Panama to that of Venezuela. One of the most spectacular regions in both this diversity and scenery is the Tayrona National Natural Park (TNNP).

Read More

The end of the world’s most famous beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper

August 1st, 2017

All over the world there are beaches lined with condos, hotels, restaurants and the like, in high-rise buildings (i.e., skyscrapers). Such beaches are generally the nation’s premier tourist areas, important to the local people and the local economy and prime spots for national and international vacationers. The powers that be in most of these places continue high-rise construction and seem oblivious of the sea level rise.

Read More

Archive / Beach Of The Month