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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, May 25, 2002

Florida beats out Hawai'i for best beach claim

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

Best beaches for 2002

1. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Florida
2. Hanalei, Kaua'i
3. Ka'anapali, Maui
4. Fort DeSoto Park, Florida
5. Caladesi Island State Park, Florida
6. Ocracoke Island, N.C.
7. Hamoa, Maui
8. East Hampton Beach, N.Y.
9. Cape Florida State Recreation Area, Florida
10. Hanauma Bay

Source: "America's Best Beaches," Stephen P. Leatherman, Florida International University

Let's not be selfish.

Oh, why not be?

Sue Kanoho wrestled with her reaction yesterday to word that Florida's St. Joseph Peninsula State Park — "Some junk beach!" Kanoho quipped — beat out Hanalei Bay Beach for the top spot in the annual "America's Best Beaches" list.

She's prejudiced, of course. Kanoho is executive director of the Kaua'i office of the Hawai'i Visitors and Convention Bureau.

"We're excited to see we're back in the top five," she said diplomatically. "We're sad to see Po'ipu off the list, of course, but we've got to share."

After all, Hawai'i beaches won the top spot six years in a row before this year. Po'ipu Beach was retired from consideration after becoming last year's national winner.

Hawai'i beaches have won the award in eight of the 12 years it has existed. Other No. 1 Hawai'i beaches have been Kauna'oa on the Big Island in 2000, Wailea in 1999, Kailua in 1998, Hulopo'e on Lana'i in 1997, Lanikai in 1996, Hapuna in 1993 and Kapalua Bay in 1991.

The list is compiled by Stephen P. Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University in Miami who's also known as "Dr. Beach."

The annual ratings are based on 50 criteria, including sand quality, water temperature and presence of litter.