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Thread: Hawaii's Most Dangerous Beach

  1. #1
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA

    Hawaii's Most Dangerous Beach

    Hawaii's Most Dangerous Beach Written by Jeff Booth - May 01, 2008 10:30 PM According to a recent study, a Big Island beach that's responsible for more spinal cord injuries than any other beach in the state. The beach we're talking about is Hapuna Beach State Park. It's a huge draw for tourists on the Big Island, but even a day that seems relatively benign can lead to injury. At more than half-a-mile long and greater than 200 feet wide Hapuna is the Big Island's largest white sand beach.

    That, along with the fact that sunny skies prevail for much of the year, make it the most popular beach on the island, but it has another distinction. According to statistics from the Queens Medical Center it's home to more spinal cord injuries than any other beach in the state.

    "Would you believe me if I told you this beach had the most spinal cord injuries, more than any other across the state?"

    "No I wouldn't."

    "Why's that?"

    "It doesn't look very dangerous out there. I've thought about it a couple of times but it doesn't look too bad."

    "I wouldn't believe it. Seems pretty safe to me. I had a great time. I went and snorkled a little bit. I went in the water, didn't have a problem at all. It was very fun," said Donna Posch.

    "Just about any day of the year lifeguards can see the conditions that would lead to injury. But during the winter time the set-up is a lot more common."

    Part of the problem is that the waves don't have to be that big for the day to turn dangerous.

    "The classic day where we suspect we'll see spine injuries will be a two to three foot day, we're talking face values. Strong off-shore wind conditions with a shallow sand bar," said Captain Chris Stelfox.

    Bill Abraham, a.k.a. "Black", has worked at Hapuna for 14 years. Every Winter he watches the waves deposit the Sand Bar offshore.

    "It causes the waves to come in a break shallower. It'll break top to bottom. What I mean by to top to bottom: from the top of the wave to the bottom it dumps straight up and down. It doesn't slope and break from the top it just breaks from top to bottom," said Bill Abraham.

    Which means you can get thrown head first onto the tightly packed sand. Between 200 and 2006 Queens logged 11 spinal cord injuries at Hapuna which has more than 616,000 visitors each year. Doesn't sound like much? Waikiki placed second in sea spine injuries with 8 in that same six-year stretch but 10 times the number of people visit annually.

    "Those are only the statistics that are going through Queen's Medical Emergency Center. That doesn't include people treated here on the Big Island," said Capt. Chris Stelfox

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    denver, co
    wow, does look like a lovely beach though!

  3. #3
    Hmmm... Pre-SCI and post-college graduation I visited a beach on Oahu that was called 'Break Neck Beach.' This may be the same beach as the article, but I am unsure.

    The beach lived up to its name as the surf was truly treacherous. In fact, the surf was so great that you could literally body surf the waves without a boogie board or anything else. Diving below the water was an amazing experience as the tumbling waves created an odd experience that I have not had elsewhere. Truly amazing, but not very relaxing. Have to be on the lookout at all times for rogue waves that would pound the shore (and you).

    Here's some commentary about Break Neck Beach:
    While the beach itself and the beautiful scenery is fabulous, you MUST be careful swimming here. I've been to Big Beach numerous times and never had a problem; I do really like the area. However, on my last trip there (2006) I was hit by a rogue wave and tossed and tumbled as if I was in a washing machine. Truly had no idea what happened, or what end was up. I was slammed face first into the sand, only to drag myself up to my knees and get wiped out again by another wave. As I was brushing off my beaten body (and ego) a young man inquired if I was okay. He was a local and indicated that this can be a regular occurrence. They have a name for the beach: Break Neck Beach. This is because someone actually broke their neck when they were deposited upside down on shore by a huge wave. So, word to the wise, BE CAREFUL at Big Beach. And NEVER turn your back on a wave, even if it looks small, trust me!

  4. #4
    Yeah, I have seen these beaches on TV. Pity the poor AB who is used to surfing/body surfing/swimming at his/her beach at home then comes here thinking all is the same. These beaches are dangerous as hell especially to those used to our tamer waters. They look similar but they are wholly different animals.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA

    Waikiki Wall Jumpers

    Waikiki Wall Jumpers

    By Ron Mizutani

    Millions have strolled along the Wall at Waikiki. The popular Kapahulu Groin is enjoyed by visitors and residents -- but is also the site of many spinal cord injuries. the latest case happened Sunday afternoon involving a 19-year-old man.
    It's a thrill that's been around for decades.

    "This go way back in time when we was small kids," said long-time Wall regular Tyrone Hussey.

    Despite signs, jumping off the Waikiki Wall is a local tradition. Late Sunday the wall saw its latest tragedy.

    "I walked over that side -- me I look over I go -- awww -- I saw bruddah lying in the water like that," said Hussey. "Then the guy said he couldn't move his legs I go oh, oh."

    Witnesses say the 19-year-old Hawaii resident jumped headfirst into waste-deep water and suffered a serious spinal cord injury.

    "Bummers -- sad," said Hussey.

    There have been many sad stories here. In July 2005, 18-year-old Kristopher Leuta broke his neck and drowned after jumping in the same area.

    "Who's going to pay attention to the sign. I did it myself when I was a young kid," said the victim's father Fatu Leuta the day after the fatal injury. "The only way they're going to prevent from anything happening either break that wall down or post somebody there to tell them eh you can't do that."

    It's something the city has considered.

    "When the city had looked at tearing down the groin several years ago -- there was a community outcry against tearing it down," said City Council Member Charles Djou.

    "I know think they going shut 'em down -- going get all kind hell if they do you know what I mean," said Hussey.

    "I definitely think the city government needs to revisit this issue," responded Djou.

    Data supports revisiting the issue. According to the Queen's Medical Center Trauma Registry, the number of spinal cord injuries at Hawaii beaches have varied through the years, peaking in 2005 with 22. Hapuna Beach on the Big Island saw the most cases with 11 in six years, Waikiki was next with eight, most happening at the Wall. Sandy Beach, Magic or White Sands on the Big Island and Waimea Bay round out the top five.

  6. #6
    I love Waikiki and it is one of my favorite places to go in summer. But I do agree that some people are quite risky jumping off that wall in the water. No wonder where they scored number 2 in spine injuries. Although I must admit I also jumped a few times :-) It is fun!

    While in Waikiki, we stayed at Waikiki beach tower, which is just a few minutes away from the wall.

    Check out these pics:

    I have been right at that spot. What a pretty place. Waikiki, wait for me, I am coming!

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