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Thursday, May 25, 2000

Big Isle’s
Kaunaoa top
beach in U.S.

Five others in the islands
rank in the top 20 listing
of a Florida geologist

Star-Bulletin staff


The Big Island's Kaunaoa Beach heads this year's list of America's Best Beaches.

Five other Hawaii beaches also were rated in the top 20 by Stephen Leatherman -- "Dr. Beach" -- a Florida International University coastal geologist.

He said Kaunaoa Beach is known for great sunny weather.

"This long, crescent-shaped, white sand beach contrasts with the black lava headlands that frame it. It is a great place to swim and snorkel in the sparkling clear waters, especially in the summer months."

Other island beaches in this year's top 20 are: Poipu Beach Park on Kauai (No. 3); Hanalei Beach, Kauai (No. 4); Kaanapali Beach, Maui (No. 5); Hamoa Beach, Maui (No. 8), and Hanauma Bay, Oahu (No. 17).

Two Hawaii beaches also were named among 10 of the country's best beaches with nightlife: Kapalua Bay, Maui, and Waikiki Beach, Oahu.

This is the fifth year in a row that Hawaii had the top beach in the survey. Previous ones were Wailea Beach on Maui, 1999; Kailua Beach Park, Oahu, 1998; Hulopoe on Lanai, 1997, and Lanikai Beach, Oahu, 1996.

Leatherman uses 50 factors to judge beaches.

They include the number and size of waves, condition of the sand, whether there are rip currents, biological and wildlife factors, human use and impacts, views, traffic and noise.

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