Duke Kahanamoku Beach is the number one beach in the 24th annual Top 10 Beach List, produced by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University.
Kahanamoku Beach is located at the west end of Waikiki Beach, far from the large crowds elsewhere. It is widest beach on this stretch of famous sands and protected by an offshore coral reef, making it a good beach for families with children. This is a safe beach with no known drownings. Official lifeguards are not present, but the beach and pool concessionaires have lifeguard training. The nearby Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is also a favorite bathing and swimming spot. Public access is via Kalia Road and Pahoa Place. Surprising to most visitors, this beautiful beach where smoking is not permitted, was created more than half a century ago by dredging through the shallow reef and importing sand.
As “Dr. Beach” (www.DrBeach.org), Leatherman has selected the annual Top 10 Beaches since 1991. Fifty criteria are used to evaluate beaches, which include water and sand quality as well as safety and environmental management. Dr. Leatherman is an internationally known coastal scientist who has published 16 books and hundreds of scientific articles and reports about storm impacts, coastal erosion and ways to improve beach health and safety.
Starting next year, even more emphasis will be placed on environmental management and beach safety.
Bonus points will be awarded for prohibition of smoking on beaches. Oahu is leading the way as
smoking at all beaches on this Hawaiian island is banned as of January 1, 2014.