Tourists and locals alike enjoy the beach, but it’s not all fun and games for everyone. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

As someone who was born and raised in Hawaiʻi, people automatically assume that I go to the beach whenever I’m free. It’s the exact opposite.

Over winter break, I went to Waimānalo Beach with some friends, but the last time I had been to a beach before that was roughly 7 years ago. For me, it was a painful experience that is unnecessary as Hawaiʻi has much more to offer than just its beaches.

First comes the sand. For whatever reason, digging holes and making castles is entertaining to the majority, though nothing is more irritating than little grains stuck in your swimsuit for an entire day. Even after you leave the beach it’s very likely that you’ll still have sand stuck on you somewhere and it’ll make a mess of your car.

The sun is also bothersome. Granted, this is a problem anytime you go outside, but being at the beach amplifies the discomfort by at least 1000 times. The scorching heat is hard to avoid and you can still get burned after reapplying sunscreen every two hours. Additionally, the white cast that most sunscreens leave is horrendous and they’re usually super sticky.

Aside from natural deterrents, public restrooms and showers are another factor to consider when you’re thinking about going to the beach. With everyone using the same facilities half-naked, it can be pretty gross to follow suit. The toilets are even more unsanitary and most of them look as though they hadn’t been cleaned in years. You are almost always going to find that there’s no soap either, which leaves you with the option of bringing your own or just resorting to hand sanitizer.

The most troublesome element is the water itself. If it gets into your eyes it’ll burn immensely and there’s no way of finding relief unless you plan to trudge through the blistering sand to get a bottle of water. The tides are also to be feared since they can sweep you out without warning. The same goes for the waves, as everything could go wrong in a second if you’re not prepared. To make things worse, once you come out of the water, your hair will be salty and it can become a frizzy mess after it dries.

Lastly, the reef and sea creatures that you’ll come across are a good enough reason to stay far away from the beach. Getting cut on coral already hurts as is, but getting saltwater into your wound can make it hurt even more. Not to mention, it’s even more painful if you have bits and pieces of coral in your cut. As for the sea creatures, you better hope that you’re a great distance away from any man ‘o war since their stings pack a punch. Also, don’t forget to check where you sit down because there are sure to be crabs burrowed in the sand. 

So next time you plan a beach trip, make sure to keep this in mind as it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. There are many other ways to appreciate the beauty of Hawaiʻi and the place we call home.