Even Hawaii’s busiest beach is calm at dawn, easing into the day’s activity. People walk or jog along the sand for morning exercise as others stay in one spot to do push-ups or practice Tai Chi. On the Diamond Head end of the beach, I’ve watched beach vendors unpack small boxes into full shops filled with souvenirs, snorkels and even surf boards. On an early visit to the other end of the beach recently, I noticed tracks on the sand. If you look closely at the photo, you can see that it looks the way a lawn does when freshly mowed.

The tracks came from a machine that looks like it would be fun to drive. It’s called a “surf rake.” The driver was making circles around the Hilton Hawaiian Village lagoon when I saw him. I’m not sure if he goes out farther down the beach, but there were tracks along the makai (ocean) side of the HHV property. One bicyclist rode through the circles to make a sort of diameter track. A group of kids ran across the sand watching their foot prints – like being the first to make tracks in newly-fallen snow. During the few minutes that I watched, the tracks were quickly covered with footprints of all sizes.

The beach filled slowly with people planning to spend the day, carrying towels and water toys. The mood changed from one of relative isolation to festivity. Both are fun – you can pick the atmosphere by timing your visit to this Hawaii beach.


  1. Really enjoyed reading your post about the "awakening" of Waikiki and how the beach is transformed by the "motorized surf rake" into a pristine sand surface.  Did not realize this type of equipment was used on the beach although it makes sense and reminds one of the motorized city street sweepers, washers and other equipment.  Nice description of the change that takes place on the beach: from pristine surfed sand to busy and crowded with beach walkers, vendors, visitors and more.    Liked your photos too. 

  2. I had no idea there was a machine like this… even when I lived down in Waikiki I never saw it..
    but then, I'm not an early riser either… 🙂

  3. The sand rakes are pretty interesting. In some of the resorts they are often pulled out when someone comes in and says “help, I lost my watch or ring in the sand”. A few passes with that and then they look at what’s been pulled up, often with success.

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