Hamoa Beach No. 4 on latest ranking

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) – Hana’s Hamoa Beach ranks fourth on coastal expert Stephen Leatherman’s annual listing of the nation’s Top 10 best beaches.

Waikiki’s Kahanamoku Beach on Oahu was second, while Waimanalo Bay State Park, also on Oahu, was fifth.

In an announcement that coincides annually with the unofficial start of summer, Leatherman released the 23rd version of his Top 10 Beach List, placing Main Beach in East Hampton, N.Y., at the top.

His top rating to the East Coast beach came as some surprise nationally coming in the aftermath of Superstom Sandy. East Hampton is famous nationally as a vacation playground for the rich and famous.

“The thing about the Hamptons is that people are so proud of their beaches out there,” Leatherman told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of the release of his list. “People pick up their litter there, the bathrooms are clean; they provide good services.”

Leatherman, who goes by the nickname Dr. Beach, visited Main Beach earlier this month. He said that unlike many beaches farther to the west and in New Jersey, the beaches on eastern Long Island saw less erosion and flooding from the effects of Superstorm Sandy.

“Considering the magnitude of the storm, people will be very pleased to see that Main Beach is the way they remember it,” he said.

Other beaches on the Top 10 listing were: St. George Island State Park, Fla.; Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park, Bonita Springs, Fla.; Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Fla.; Cape Hatteras, Outer Banks, N.C.; Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.; and Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.

Leatherman, a professor at Florida International University in Miami, has visited beaches around the world and uses criteria like water and sand quality, as well as safety and environmental management, to compile his annual list. Once a beach reaches the pinnacle of No. 1, it is retired from future consideration, he said.

Coopers Beach in nearby Southampton, N.Y., was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 survey. Sarasota, Fla.’s Siesta Beach was tops in 2011 and Coronado Beach in California earned the top spot in 2012.