When Kilauea erupted on May 3rd, the main concern was to keep everyone, their homes, and the agriculture on Hawaii’s Big Island safe from harm. Some of the big casualties, however, have been several of Hawaii’s most popular coastal surf spots. Flowing for almost three months now, the lava delta has reached the Pacific Ocean nearly half a mile past the original coastline. Now, molten rock from Fissure 8 is dominating the coastline where waves used to break. The effect on the coastline may have been underreported, but its negative effects should not be underestimated.
“The lava took houses,” Hilo surfer Cliff Kapono said in an interview with Surfer Magazine, “which is already terrible and very sad how much that has hurt people. But houses can be rebuilt. We cannot rebuild waves.”
Locals are sharing fond memories of the now-damaged or destroyed Bowls, Secrets, and Dead Trees breaks, posting nostalgic videos of the waves. Kapono posted this video, taken at a small cove on the south side of the Big Island. “The special thing,” he says in his caption, “is that we can always find something to ride here….some would call this place a sanctuary.”
In the same interview with Surfer Magazine, Big Island local Mikey O’Shaughnessey said, “It’s disappearing more as we speak, but all the memories we made at this place will live forever, and we’ll pass stories of those waves on to our children.”
While scientists are still unsure of when the eruption will stop, it’s believed that it may not subside for several months.