Sure, it looks easy. Just like you can learn the way chess pieces move in five minutes. But to be a grand master of walking where surf meets the sand, a lifetime of dedication is required. Here are the rules to keep in mind. (Above is Kauai's Donkey Beach.)
No set uniform is needed. But barefoot walking is a must, giving yourself a foot massage and smoothing the tootsies as you go. And always carry flip flops (called 'slippers' in the Islands), to navigate rough sections between beaches and stickery spots at the backshore.
Don't wear strap-on sandals. Sand gets in the straps and, especially when wet, rubs your skin raw in no time. These beach-combers at Maui's Big Beach are obviously seasoned veterans.
You can't lose the trail beach-combing. But should you wander inland into the wilds, like hubbub of Waikiki, be prepared by stuffing some cash in your swimsuit. It's waterproof.
If you get stuck on hot sand trying to make it away from the beach (and you spaced out and didn't bring flip flops), dig down a few inches to where the sand is cool. No need to hot-foot it. Repeat the process until reaching shade—which is scarce at Yokohama Beach on Oahu.
When the surf is up—more than a few feet—stay well back of the waterline and even the wet areas left by receding waves. This is especially necessary where sand slopes steeply to the water. This day on Kauai's Charo's Beach isn't particularly dangerous, but people get swept out and often die in Hawaii when walking too close to the shore when waves are large.
Charo's is a beach known for shells, so a serious beach-comber always keeps an eye out for the treasures. Hawaiian sand usually is coarse and soft at the shoreline, unlike many Mainland beaches where the surface close to the shore is firm and flat. Your feet churn through a workout.
When on longer excursions—like walking from Makapu'u Beach Park to Makai Research Pier on Oahu's Windward side—be sure to take a daypack with water, food, sunblock, and enough clothing to layer against a change in the weather.
Of course, walking is only one beach activity. Plan ahead by wearing a swimsuit and throwing a mask into your pack. You can take a quick snorkel-swim. And then take a break by watching surfers and kite-boarders. Oahu's Lanakai Beach always has a lot going on.
Most importantly, never give up and always seek new adventures. Get ahold of a Trailblazer guide.