By Rich Figel
The first time I saw Waikiki Beach was in 1983, when I came to visit my brother, who was stationed at Hickam Air Force base. During that trip, I took photos of the guy who used to build elaborate sandcastles in front of the Royal Hawaiian. After I moved here, I later learned the hotel actually hired him to do the sand sculptures because it drew so many tourists to that location, and the photos were great publicity for the Pink Palace.
Flash forward to 2011, and there I was with our Career Changers TV host, Theresa Tilley, and co-producer Rob Reynolds, shooting our May show introductions at the Royal Hawaiian. You can still catch that episode on OC16 until Thurs., June 2 when the new program begins airing. While I was telling Jim Palank, the resort's Director of Sales & Marketing, about how seeing that sandcastle display on my first visit hooked me on Waikiki, he gave me a scoop of sorts. It turns out the Sand Masters television show had just filmed a segment there for the Travel Channel -- except they did it in the interior courtyard instead of on the beach.
According to Camilla Carboni, the Sales/On-line Marketing Coordinator for the resort, they brought in approximately 40 tons of sand for the Sand Masters shoot. They're not sure when that segment will air, but the series begins in June and you can find more information on the Travel Channel website by clicking here. BTW, I'd like to give a big mahalo to Jim Palank and the Royal Hawaiian for allowing us to film there! It's a beautiful setting, plus they have fine dining and entertainment that locals should check out when they want to take a mini-vacation here at home.
Somewhere in my closet, stashed away with my old photo albums and mementos from bygone days, are those pictures of sandcastles on Waikiki Beach that I used to look at back in New York City during cold winters when I dreamed of living in Hawaii. Although the fellow who built those fantastic sand sculptures is long gone, I've gotten to live my dream. Perhaps, some day the Royal Hawaiian will bring back that tradition for new generations of locals and visitors to appreciate the grandeur of the Pink Palace and its rich history.