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A Valley Isle readershared this typical anecdote from Makena, also known as Big Beach: "While visiting my orthopedic doctor recently, there were two gentlemen in the waiting room who, unknown to each other, had just broken their shoulder blades trying to swim at Big Beach.
Two tourists, same beach, same day, same doctor's office.
(President Obama, like others who grew up on the island, may know what he's doing at Sandy's, as locals call it, but that doesn't mean you will.) The ambulance standing by in the parking lot is one clue.
Conditions for similarly perilous shorebreak — mid-sized waves landing on hard-packed sand in shallow water — can also be found on Maui's Makena and D. Fleming beach parks and the Big Island's Hapuna and Magic Sands beach parks, which are often better for sunbathing.
Sadly, every island has a sirenlike shoreline where risks are all too often unheeded.
Trouble spots: On Kauai, picturesque Lumaha'i Beach, nicknamed "Luma-die" by some, and Hanakapi'ai Beach, relatively remote but still popular as the first pit stop on the rugged Kalalau Trail, are subject to frighteningly strong rogue waves and rip currents.
Read the surf advisories in the local papers (you remember newspapers, right?
Just as important, the site lists "recommended" and closed beaches, citing current conditions that are updated every 10 minutes based on National Weather Service forecasts, and includes detailed analysis of each beach's natural features and hazards.But the alluring beauty of the waterfall and natural pool conceals a deadly side. more In a July 5, 2011 photo, Christine Kauhi holds photographs of her son, Kulana Kauhi-Apao in Kailua, Hawaii. “I kept thinking, something just held him down there. more A July 6, 2011 photo shows a memorial at Kipu Falls on Kauai for Kulana Kauhi-Apao, an Oahu man who drowned there in December 2010.What possibly could have sucked him back down to the bottom of the pond? less In a July 5, 2011 photo, Christine Kauhi holds photographs of her son, Kulana Kauhi-Apao in Kailua, Hawaii. Kauhi-Apao's mother, Christine Kauhi, hopes something can be done to prevent more drownings.The Kaua'i Explorer website also provides valuable safety advice for Garden Island beaches, including tourist faves without lifeguards (Lumaha'i, 'Anini, "Secret" Beach, Kalapaki and Polihale among them.) In addition, Hawaii novices should review the basic ocean safety tips on the Honolulu municipal site: "Always swim at a guarded beach; consult lifeguards about ocean conditions before you go into the water; heed all warning signs — they are there for a reason; never swim alone; never go out farther than you can swim; know your limits — if in doubt, don't go out." The site also provides a guide to the warning signs, both permanent and temporary, found on all the islands, with photos showing the relevant hazardous conditions.First-time snorkelers would also benefit from the safety tips of the buddy system works.) Not online?