(KAILUA, Hawaii) — In Kailua, the sand is smooth and white, the water is apparent and calm, and the view is exactly what you would expect from a seashore within the Hawaiian Islands.
Those are a few of the reasons Oahu’s Kailua Beach Park has been decided on as the high-quality stretch of sand for an annual list of top U.S. Beaches.
Stephen Leatherman, a coastal scientist, and professor at Florida International University, has been drafting the listing beneath the alias “Dr. Beach” seeing that 1991.
Leatherman uses 50 criteria to evaluate beaches, with the most important categories being water cleanliness, protection and management of the beach surroundings and its facilities. Leatherman makes use of statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to grade the beaches on water best and has been to all of the seashores on his list.
Beaches in Hawaii are continuously ranked high, occasionally on the top of his listing.
“I love Waikiki Beach. No query approximately that — a world-famous seaside — but Kailua is a lot smaller and quieter,” Leatherman said. “It’s a lot greater peaceful. … You don’t have massive high-rises and all that. Kailua is on the opposite side of the mountains. It’s like a distinctive international.”
In current years, Leatherman has offered extra credit to seashores that prohibit smoking , which all Oahu beaches do. He thinks different beaches around the kingdom and united states ought to comply with suit.
Leatherman additionally looks for powdery smooth white sand, some thing Kailua Beach Park has in abundance.
Vari Singh and her family had been touring Oahu from Los Angeles and spent an afternoon in Kailua.
“The color of the ocean is something like we’ve in no way seen earlier than. The sand is incredible gentle and fun to play with, it makes good sandcastles,” she said as her daughter wiped sand from her face. “And the scenery is beautiful, you just come over the hill and it’s just this majestic scene of inexperienced ocean.”
Leatherman mentioned that not each person appreciates the exposure his lists provide to pinnacle beaches.
“I get a variety of folks that are very happy approximately it. They want to recognize where to move,” Leatherman stated. But “I constantly get some pushback. Oh yes, people say, ‘Oh no, we already have too many people coming right here. What are you doing?’ It’s almost like they think it’s a secret seashore or something. (Kailua) is not quite a secret beach. It is a real gem even though.”
Braden Marquez, 18, who grew up in Kailua, says he has concerned approximately overcrowding but additionally hopeful about the future of his hometown.
“This seaside is pretty unique to me just because my own family has been coming here for years and years,” he stated, noting the location has modified lots seeing that his youth.
“(My) largest challenge might be dropping the locals because of the inflow of human beings,” he said all through a current go to to the beach. “But apart from that, I’m quite excited about all the new matters to come back.”
For the first 25 years of ranking, any beach that won the top spot on Leatherman’s listing turned into ineligible for inclusion in next years. But in 2015, Dr. Beach cleared the slate to permit any seaside in the country to yet again be eligible, resetting the clock — and perhaps the relevance— related to his annual contest.
Kailua become named the best beach in 1998, making it a -time winner.
Leatherman is again retiring new winners and posting them on his website.
The other beaches on this year’s list are Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks in 2d location, observed via Grayton Beach State Park inside the Florida panhandle; Coopers Beach, Southampton, New York; Duke Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu; Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin-Clearwater, Florida; Hapuna State Beach Park on Hawaii’s Big Island; Coronado Beach, San Diego, California; and Kiawah Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
Leatherman’s intention in producing the listing every yr, he says, is to praise extremely good, safe beaches that balance nature with accessibility and services. He hopes beaches that haven’t made his listing will make adjustments for a better revel in and a more healthy coastal environment.