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Sand and swimmers are back at Poipu Beach.

Sand and swimmers are back at Poipu Beach

On November 23, 1982, Hurricane Iwa howled through Hawaii, leaving the island of Kauai with damages that exceeded $200 million. Hardest hit was the Poipu Beach resort area, on the island's south shore. Sunset editors visiting just afterward found extensive damage to roads and shorefront properties; only half the area's hotel rooms were still open.

Five years later, Poipu is back to normal. While most hotels were reconstructed and reopened within a year of the storm, it took longer to complete work on roads and park facilities. Landscaping was slow to recover: the famous "tunnel' of mahogany trees on Maluhia Road near State Highway 50 was stripped down to trunks by the winds. But the trees survived, and the leafy canopy has almost grown back.

Some of the best news is that the sand is finally back at Brennecke's Beach. Famous for its near-perfect bodysurfing and bellyboarding waves, Brennecke's was scoured of sand by the storm's waves. Bit by bit, sand has washed back in, and this past summer the beach was back to normal, with a good curl in the surf.

If Brennecke's surf is too big for younger swimmers, take them to the recently rebuilt Poipu Beach Park, just to the west. Here, a lifeguard watches over a shallow cove with gentle wavelets; farther out, older children can bellyboard on bigger waves. And there's great snorkeling in the rocky cove just past the small point at the park's western boundary (bring along a bag of frozen peas to feed fish).

Surfers can check the waves in front of Kiahuna Plantation condos, three coves west of the park.

Snorkeling gear, surfboards, or belly-boards rent for $5 per hour or $15 a day at Brennecke Ocean Sports (742-6570), across Hoone Road from the beach park; you can arrange lessons. Most hotels also have beach concessions.

For information on lodging, restaurants, and other activities in the area, write to the Poipu Beach Resort Association, Box 730, Koloa, Kauai 96756.

Photo: Compare 1982 (top) with today at Brennecke's Beach. In '82, Hurricane Iwa washed away roads, downed power lines, and scoured sand from the famous bodysurfing beach. Now sand is back--and so are swimmers at Poipu beaches
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Title Annotation:Koloa, Kauai
Date:Jan 1, 1988
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