The First Family have now officially hit the halfway point of their Hawaiian holiday and enjoyed a nice lie-in followed by an afternoon at the beach on the eight day of their vacation.

However while a regular bunch would just hit the sand and surf, the Obamas had their regular motorcade drop them at Bellows Air Force Station in Waimanalo, and Secret Service agents on wave runners circled them in the water.

The main task of the agents seemed to focus on stopping any other people in kayaks getting to close to the President, his wife and their two daughters. The officers could be seen telling different groups at the popular spot to turn around, as they sectioned off part of the water. There was also a strong contingent of local police on the ground.

As the motorcade arrived at the popular spot, several dozen beachgoers and families waved and flashed the 'shaka' sign on the breezy, sunny day on Oahu.

On Saturday night, the first couple left their rented home and had dinner with friends at the Alan Wong restaurant, which is marked by a green awning featuring a yellow pineapple. The restaurant says on its website that it focuses on Hawaii regional cuisine.

After dinner, Obama was briefed by the White House on Air Asia flight QZ8501, which lost contact with air traffic control about 40 minutes into a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

The President woke up the day after Christmas for a session in the gym and exercised at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii before joining wife Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sashaon the sand.

Later in the day, after a week of golfing, the president hit the links again with friends Greg Orme, Bobby Titcomb and Mike Ramos, the White House said.  This time, they played at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club in Kailua, a lush course with views of the Koolau Mountains. The club is currently under renovation and only has nine holes open, according to its website.

On the way back to the Kailua vacation home on Friday, a child sat on a shirtless man's shoulders watching the passing motorcade and children jumped on a trampoline.

After brief remarks, Obama was taking photos in private with the troops and their families. During his Christmas Address, which aired on Thursday he paid tribute to servicemen as the 10-year mission in Afghanistan drew to a close.

'Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the American armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country,' Obama said to applause from Marines and their families. 'We are safer. It's not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again.'  In wishing all Americans a Merry Christmas as part of their annual address, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle turned the focus to the sacrifice of US troops and their families, and how the combat mission in Afghanistan would soon be over.

Thirteen years and $1 trillion later, the US is preparing to pull the vast majority of its combat troops out of Afghanistan by year's end, as the US and its partners seek to turn the page on a bloody chapter that started the day that al-Qaeda militants struck American soil on Sept. 11, 2011.

From a peak 140,000 troops in 2010, the US and NATO plan to leave just 13,500 behind for training and battlefield support.

Although there are reasons for cautious optimism, including a new Afghan president whose seriousness of effort has inspired US confidence, the broader picture still looks glim.

The US is shifting to a supporting role after the bloodiest year in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion. Civilian casualties this year are on track to hit 10,000, and some 5,000 Afghan forces were also killed in 2014, a figure that has escalated as the country took on a greater role in its own security. Insurgents have seized territory across the country, raising fears that militants will successfully exploit the security vacuum formed as the US pulls out.

Roughly 2,200 US troops were killed in Afghanistan over the last 13 years in a war that cost the US $1 trillion, plus another $100 billion for reconstruction. A celebratory cheer of 'hooah' rang out from the hundreds of troops here when Obama affirmed that the combat mission was finally ending.

'We still have some very difficult missions around the world - including in Iraq,' Obama said. But, he added, 'the world is better, it's safer, it's more peaceful, it's more prosperous and our homeland protected because of you.'

On the US mainland and across the globe, other prominent leaders were fanning out, echoing the president's message with their own Christmas visits and phone calls to American troops.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, to spend time with wounded troops and their families and express gratitude for their service. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel called military members on deployment, the Pentagon said, including those in Afghanistan and others assigned to US Central Command, which is running the US mission to fight the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

Senator. John McCain, was spending Christmas in Kabul, Afghanistan, where the former Navy pilot met Thursday with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah. A chief critic of Obama's foreign policy, McCain is set to lead the Senate Armed Services Committee next year.–Daily Mail