One Question Quiz
Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

SummerJanuary 22, 2022

Beach behaviour that should get in the sea

Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

There’s always something – or someone – threatening to take the shine off an otherwise lovely day of sun, sand and surf. Here are the beachy bugbears that have irked us most this summer.

I adore dogs. I could gladly stare at a dog all day and all night, unblinkingly like Hannibal Lecter until I gently pass away, and would have felt I lived a fulfilled life. At the beach, most dogs are at their absolute best. A dog doing hard-out zoomies in the sand? Mwah. A dog biting at the waves? Enchanté. A dog on a boogie board? “I do.” A dog wistfully gazing out at the horizon, contorting its body into a weird inchworm stance and doing a giant shart that the owner conveniently ignores? No thank YOU. 

I have had it up to my mermaid gills with dog poo on the beach. Not once but twice this summer I have picked up a piece of dog poo thinking it was a beautiful ornate shell that I could take home as a holiday keepsake. The egg is on my face, the poo is on my hands and I am once again asking dog owners to pick up their pooches’ poo at the beach. Alex Casey

Guilty (Photo: Getty Images)

Pick up your rubbish. It seems simple. But for many, it seems like a step too far. If you take cans, take the empties back home. Drinking from bottles? Do the same. Smoking? Just don’t. Take your rubbish home with you. A few empty bottles nestled into the sand may look cool in a Corona commercial, but it sucks for others sharing the same space. Besides, your rubbish might damage a turtle. Leave the poor turtles alone.

Look. LOOK. If there’s a pontoon at the beach, it’s almost invariably smothered by more teens than it is fit to hold. Some of us may be in middle age, but we’re still committed to the summer bomb. We need a pontoon for that, but not when our techniques are being judged by gaggles of giggling teens. Make room. Go for a swim. Throw a ball around. Give others a go on the pontoon. Let us do our sad middle-aged bombs. Because sharing is caring, OK?

Jet skis have just two reasons to exist. Tech bros (hi Mark) buy them to show off their stupidity, and others use them to annoy beachgoers. That incessant whine sounds like a giant mosquito you want to swat away with your hand. Ban them. Cancel them. Destroy them all. Jet skis should not exist. Chris Schulz

A global issue, if this shot from the Black Sea is anything to go by (Photo: Getty Images)

I don’t care if you play loud music or try to sell me weed. I’m chill, and really cool. When I visit the beach, I have only two priorities: soak up the rays, and avoid death-by-shark. I’ve done my research on sharks. I’ve emailed the shark man Riley Elliot about how to handle them. While I theoretically know how to go about fighting a shark, I know actually pulling it off is different. If I’m having a nice float out in the swells, I need everyone around me to be a) a slower swimmer than me and b) give me the space and light to scan the ocean floor. I would love for young people to stop boldly splashing around near me, making vibrations and casting shadows. Back on the sand, and on a different note, I’d like everyone to stop being hotter than me super annoying. Josie Adams

Around the age I was getting to grips with finders keepers and who smelt it dealt it, I learned another timeless maxim: first in, first served. It’s an idea both simple and profound, embodying such Randian virtues as individualism, self-reliance and punctuality. Surprisingly, the place I most often find myself thinking about these four words is on the beach. Let me set the scene: I’ve arrived there early, either by myself or with a friend, and found a delightful area in which to lay down: soft sand, a bit of shade and plenty of peace and quiet. And then comes a huge group of people rolling up like the travelling convoy in Station Eleven, and they set up camp right next to me, radios, beach umbrellas, barbecues and all. But why? There’s lots of space elsewhere on the beach! If you wanted this exact spot, well guess what – you should have got here earlier. But there’s 10 of them, and only one of me, and so I pack up my towel and my book and my sandals and trudge off to find another not-quite-as-delightful area of the beach. As a great philosopher once said, life is pain. Catherine McGregor

First in, first served (Photo: Getty Images)

The most annoying beach behaviour is without doubt the water-based PDA. You know what I mean. They put on a pair of togs, head in for a dip and instead of swimming about then returning to their towels like normal people, they just stand there in the shallows, canoodling. Staring deep into each other’s eyes. Sometimes literally cradling each other

While borderline forgivable among the young and horny, in my opinion there is no excuse for anyone aged above 25 indulging in this activity. The worst part is the lack of shame. It could be a tiny cove on the hottest day of the year, the beach crawling with people desperate for a swim, and they won’t even have the decency to swim out past the rest of us for a slightly-more-private love fest. Disgusting. Alice Neville

People who treat beach cricket as a spectator sport should be forcibly evicted from the beach. I was coerced into playing a game over New Year’s and, shockingly, I was excruciatingly bad. But what made the experience even more harrowing was the gathering of five or six youths who decided to sit right next to the game and watch. I felt their eyes on my every move, every miss, every failed swing. As an aside, can we also ban sand? SSL

Avert your eyes, please (Photo: Fox Photos/Getty Images

Bonus quick-fire complaint round:

  • “Anyone who vapes at the beach should be made to eat a handful of berry-scented sand.” 
  • “Does the annoying beach behaviour of animals count? Because I will never trust a seagull.”
  • “The worst: shaking the sand from towels without taking wind direction and nearby beachgoers into account.”
  • “People who refuse to move sun loungers to accommodate my large noisy family and then steal my daughter’s doll.” 
  • “I still haven’t forgiven the guy who kicked a ball that hit me in the back of the head on Takapuna Beach in 1995.”
  • “People who drive onto the beach and then build their picnic area for the day around the car like a they’re in a campground.”
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