No swimming, snorkeling on south shore, officials say

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Lydgate was located in Lihue.

POIPU — A large south-southwest swell prompted Kauai ocean officials to advise against swimming and snorkeling on the South Shore Monday.

The swell, generated from a powerful low pressure system in the south pacific, triggered a high surf advisory that is in effect along south-facing shores of all Hawaiian islands until 6 tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

Kalani Vierra, Kauai Ocean Safety Bureau supervisor, said popular beaches such as Poipu Beach and Shipwrecks are “dangerous for any type of swimming” and recommended two alternative spots for beachgoers: Lydgate in Kapaa and Salt Pond in Hanapepe.

“We suggest Lydgate as a backup if people want to go swimming and snorkeling,” he said. “It’s a very safe area because it has protection by the breaker wall. (At) Salt Pond, there’s some limited swimming and some limited snorkeling because of the protected little bay, but during the high tide, the visibility is not going to be really that great.”

According to the National Weather Service, surf along the South Shore on Monday was 8 to 12 feet and decreased to 6 to 10 feet in the evening. Surf today is forecasted to be 6 to 8 feet.

Vierra said a 3 p.m. high tide Monday combined with high surf will create stronger currents.

“We do have some large surf and extreme high tide in the late afternoon, so the conditions and the currents will be much higher during that time of the day,” he said.

Vierra said beachgoers should avoid six other beaches on the South Shore: Brennecke’s beach, Waiohai, Sheraton Beach area, Lawai Beach Resort area and Mahaulepu.

“The more popular beaches will have a really strong shore break, so it will be really dangerous for any type of swimming there,” he said. “For days like (Monday), I think more of the experienced surfers will be having fun.”

Vierra said another swell is approaching the islands on Thursday into Friday.

“The waves might drop a little (on Wednesday) and then might come back up again before the weekend,” he said.

Vierra said he wants the public to swim in lifeguarded beaches. When gaging whether or not to enter the ocean, Vierra said to “use your best judgement.”

“Use your best common sense,” he said. “When in doubt, don’t go out.”

Kauai has reported four drownings this year, with the most recent drownings to occur at Poipu’s Shipwreck’s beach and Mahaulepu beach in March.

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