Section of beach closes as state turns on sand pump

 UPDATED 9:22 PM HST Jan 09, 2012
Waikiki Sand Replenishment
HONOLULU -

Sun, surf and 24,000 cubic yards of sand. It's all part of the state's plan to replenish the shoreline along Waikiki requires large equipment to pump that sand from more than 1,500 feet offshore.

The East Kuhio basin was closed Monday night and will remain closed, while it serves as a staging area for the sand transportation.

"It makes sense that we were able to deal with changing shorelines in this place where people want to come and people want to see," said Director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources William Aila.

Sparky Barros with Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki said he sees the temporary inconvenience as an investment in the beach rental business.

"It will be great for business. It adds more beaches and people come down here for our beach but it's kind of a Catch-22 for us," said Barros.

A Catch-22 because Barros is concerned removing the groins and restoring sand to roughly 1,700 feet in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel to the Duke Kahanamoku statue will alter the surf breaks.

"With the sand coming in and overtime the swells will eventually drag the sand out and it will cover a lot of my reef so it will change my break. Can't say if it will be for the better or the worse," said Barros.

The state is also keeping a close watch on the waves.  It needs to complete the project by April before the summer surf.

Once the work is finished, the state says the beach will double in some areas, with more room for residents and visitors.

"That’s what sells Waikiki or any one of these resorts, palm trees, sand, water that's the draw for tourists to come here," said Washington visitor Jochen Engelke.

For updates on the project visit : http://www.hawaiibeachsafety.org or at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/.

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