Being born and raised in an inland town didn’t allow for much ocean time, just the rare family holiday to the seaside. I was the kid who was stoked to have a waterline near my waist on my togs, hair still bone-dry. Waves scared me, the sand was too hot and as I grew I just couldn’t get into the beach thing, no matter how much I wanted to.
But I’ve changed and I yearn for the ocean every single day. I wake wishing for a morning beach dip and evening stroll. I wish I could hear the waves as I fall asleep (the real kind, not just on a relaxation phone app).
This change in me is largely due to marrying a Queenslander who loves to surf. Spending time with him and the in-laws has allowed me to become more accustomed to the seaside. Plus, my dad has recently bought a caravan with an annex at the coast, and I am so truly happy to have more beach time in my life.
Here are some tips for those of you who might be a bit like the old me, bit unsure of the sea but wanting to be more at one with the ocean…
Don’t take so much
I used to pack so much in my beach bag and the truth is you hardly need any of it. All you really need is:
Something to throw over your togs so you don’t burn
A drink and possibly snacks
That’s it. You don’t even need thongs unless you have a long walk down to the sand. If you have kiddies in tow, bring along their trucks, buckets and spades in a plastic tub like this you can get from most places:
It’s perfect because you can chuck everything into it, including your stuff, the dog’s ball, snacks and drinks if you’re in for the long haul, and is easy to carry.
Wear what you want and don’t care about what others think
When I was a little hottie in my early twenties I would rock the bikini but still felt self conscious—what a dumbass! But unfortunately most of us women feel this way).
Now I dress for practicality and what makes me feel good. I don’t want to let the ladies (that is my boobs) out after another wave takes my top with it, so one-pieces are for me. I’m also half-British which has bestowed on me skin that will burn from the rays of the moon. So I usually wear a beach shirt/dress when I’m not in the water.
Recently, I even tried out one of hubby’s wet suits because it was so chilly. It was awesome because it helped me float, kept me warm and I was able to bob along with the waves. Only thing was that I looked bit like a seal and didn’t want to have a Mick Fanning shark incident! Especially when I was the only person in the water! I confess, I usually try to swim with lots of people around, so if a shark comes I might not be first. I’m a TERRIBLE PERSON but I can’t help my survival mechanism 😉
Timing is everything
Try and avoid the Aussie beaches in the middle of the day, it’s just too hot. For the perfect day, go to the beach as soon as you wake up, spend the morning, then go and grab some grub, have a nap and hit the beach again in the late afternoon. Finish your day off with a beach stroll – total bliss.
Take it slow
It’s OK to not be comfortable with the salt and sand. But give yourself time and soon you will be a beach lover. Perhaps you need to try out different beaches – the bustling Bondis and Mooloolabas might be more your style, or maybe the chilled out shores of the NSW south coast is more your thing. Also, I highly recommend going on your own, without everyone in your head and just go down and breathe it all in. I guarantee you will start to feel the healing powers of the ocean. Before you know it, you will need to put your head under each visit.
Let’s face it, no one can deny beauty of the ocean. If the salt water and waves turn you off, spend some time walking along the beach. It’s one of the most relaxing ways to pass the time.
Of course it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – swim between the flags and be safe. When we first started dating hubby tried taking me out too deep (I’m not a strong swimmer) and I couldn’t touch the ground. This didn’t do anything for my water confidence, it just freaked me out more! My girlfriend’s approach was much better. Showing me on the smaller waves how to dive under so I didn’t get smashed in the white water. Baby steps all the way. I still don’t feel super confident but now I can go for a dip and enjoy myself without panicking.
It isn’t just about the beach
Coastal towns and cities are influenced by the beach culture. You are likely to find laid back people, yummy food and the desire to never leave. Hit up the local surf club for some bevies and you’ll be sold on the sea side.
So there you have it, some tips from a reformed non-beachy girl. Do you have any of your own? Please share by leaving a comment!