A long long time ago, my friends and I used to lay out on the beach lathered in baby oil, baking like chicken fingers, hunting a golden brown. I remember the days when going to the beach felt less complicated. The sun wasn’t the enemy. Beer and surfing seemed like a fine match.
These days, it’s hard to be a beach bum. There’s so much more to lose. The sun’s dangerous effects on the skin are so clearly established. I replaced baby oil with SPF, and beer is saved for after surf sessions. On top of all this, I worry about my stuff on the beach while I surf. On n crowded beach, a swimmer or surfer can’t simply leave his/her bag and towel on the sand, otherwise items could get stolen.
So, how does a surf betty manage style and safety? Balancing my innate sense of responsibility (something that hit me so hard and so suddenly when I was around 27) with my intrinsic desire to be a beach bum requires some creative strategies.
7 Style Tips for Surfer Girls
1. Ditch the beach bag. As much as I love a big beautiful bright beach bag, I know beach bags are also a flag post for pick-pocketers and petty thieves. Right away, a lovely beach bag screams cell phone, wallet and car keys. Leave your cell phone at home for a few hours, bring a some cash in your pocket for emergencies, and either tie your keys into your shoelaces or stick them into your surfboard leash. Leashes usually have a small pocket in the ankle made just for a key.
2. Apply your sunblock at home (or wear a rash guard). Literally, lather it on first thing in the morning at home. This allows it to settle in. Then on my way out the door, I put it on all over again. This way, I am certain I am leaving the house without the weight of a bottle and with the best possible coverage.
3. Wear bright clothes. Because you are leaving your cute beach bag at home, it’s harder to spot your stuff from the shore. I try to wear either a pair of neon shorts or vibrant shirt. I place the clothes on top of my shoes, then I can more easily spot my items.
4. Avoid all and any bling. It’s an obvious suggestion to remove all jewelry before paddling out. No one wants to lose their rocks. Less commonly known is that sharks are attracted to sparkles because they look like fish scales. So, when I say “no bling” I am also including shimmery nail polish. Keep your fingers and toes safer by avoiding pearl and glitter polishes.
5. Wax at home. Not your bikini line, your board! Get your board ready to rock and roll at home. Keep your wax clean by keeping it out of the sand. Also, if you suit up at home, you don’t need to bring the wax with you.
6. Replace your towel with a sarong. When I figured this out it was such a relief. Firstly, sarongs weigh significantly less than a beach towel which makes it a lot easier to bring with you. Additionally, you can wear it instead of carry it! Another one of its best assets is how large it is. Unlike a beach towel, a sarong, when laid out on the beach, lets you and a friend take a break from the surf.
7. Keep a hair band handy. I like to surf with my hair down, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wiped out because my hair was in my face and I could see. So, now I always keep a hair band on my wrist when I go out, in case I feel the need to pull my hair out of my face.
Remember just because you’re a gnarly beach pirat-tess, doesn’t mean you can’t stay pretty and safe too 😉
*Bonus Health Tip: Hydrate and rehydrate. Leave your cute reusable bottle at home. Personally, I don’t like to leave a water bottle on the sand while I surf. Call me paranoid but I just don’t like the idea of anyone messing with something I consume. So I hydrate like crazy before I go out, and then rehydrate hard core when I get home. However, this really isn’t the best idea. There’s been a few times when I finish a surf session feeling like I just finished a marathon in the desert. So, in case you have a surf session suitable for a marine, keep a water bottle in your car. Or, if you’re like me and walk everywhere, use those couple of bucks in your pocket or leash to buy a drink on the way home.
I’m so pleased to announce that three of my poems, “Slots,” “Scraping” and “Make a Decision” have been published in Barking Sycamores Literary Magazine Issue 13. Barking Sycamores is dedicated to neurodivergent literature and its craft. I’m so honored to be a part of this project. Barking Sycamores Issue 13
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