King Tides - Part 1 - Mid-Pacific Institute

Design Thinking

King Tides - Part 1

Posted on November 8, 2017

by Leilani Sills on November 8, 2017

So what exactly are king tides? What is the effect of king tides on coastal areas? Do we need to be concerned? These are some of the questions I asked my eighth grade students in Adv. Design Thinking. Growing up, I never heard of King Tides. My mom didn't, my grandma didn't. King Tides are defined by NOAA as a term that is commonly used to describe an exceptionally high tide. These tides can cause local tidal flooding as we see in areas such as Mapunapuna. According to the EPA, these tides give us a glimpse of future everyday water levels. So what does this mean for Hawaii - our tourism industry relies on Waikiki which is less than 10 feet away from the ocean in some areas. What about low-lying areas such as Mapunapuna, Ala Moana and the Ala Wai?

Since many students were unaware of King Tides and the coastal impacts, we decided to set out to document what a King Tide looks like and a normal daily tide looks like. We looked up the date of the next King Tide that coincided with school and decided to go to Alan Davis, a less traveled Beach Park since Waikiki is a very busy place (too many people walking through our video is not good for our 360 cameras).

Unfortunately, the rain decided to come in and we had to change location 15 minutes before we were set to leave. We ended up at Cromwell's Beach Park, located near Diamond Head. On a normal day, there is a nice small beach where photographers and sunbathers visit. There is also a sea wall that people will walk along to view Doris Duke's man made sea pool.

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View of Cromwell's Beach from Google Maps

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View of the sandy beach on a normal tide day

We got to Cromwell's Beach at the peak of the high tide. The beach was mostly covered with the incoming waves and the sea wall was under water. Students set-up the Go Pro Omni Rig and quickly got to work to avoid wasting any time. They were completely on their own to make their own decisions on camera placement (except with warnings if it was a dangerous location due to the incoming waves) to timing how long the shot should be.


Panoramic view of Cromwell's Beach where we set up the GoPro Omni Rig


View of GoPro Omni Placement next to covered sea wall

After we wrapped up at Cromwell's we went over to the Tide Pools at Diamond Head to see the effects of the King Tides. Students once again set up the GoPro Omni Rig and got a couple of shots of the King Tides.


Once back on campus, students worked to edit these 360 videos to provide a look at what the impact of a King Tide is on a local beach. Next quarter, we plan to revisit Cromwell's Beach Park to document the normal daily tide at the beach.

View our 360 Videos of the King Tides here:

360 videos are best viewed in Chrome or Firefox.