June 16, 2017
Yes kids, it’s that time of year again. The weather is getting warmer and school is almost out, and soon literally zillions of you will be hitting our local beaches for fun and frolic in the sun and surf. Yahooo.
When I was a kid I just couldn’t wait for that final bell to ring on the last day of school so I could get on with what I liked best, surfing all day, every day.
Today’s little rant is aimed at you, but even more so at your mom and dad or whoever it is that takes care of you. Mainly because you are not going to pay attention to this, don’t care and if you are of school age you probably are not reading this anyway. Also to all you newbies going to the beach, too.
It’s my annual “how to survive a day at the beach” public service column. You long-timers can probably stop here because this will not be new stuff for you.
Let me open by saying that the sun is really not your good buddy like you think it is. Yeah, it’s absolutely necessary for our survival and all that. But when you go to the beach it becomes a hazard unless you are prepared and know how to protect yourselves from its evils — namely sunburn
Today’s sunburn is your terminal skin cancer down the road a bit. Trust me, I know about this up close and personal. You MUST protect yourself. Get the best and most potent sunblock known to man and use it generously.
Apply it before you leave your house. Apply it again when you get to the beach before you get out of the car. Apply it again and again all the time you are in the sun — every hour or two is a good idea. And for sure after you get out of the water. Also wear a hat and sunglasses.
The idea that you will not get that wonderful golden tan if you use sunblock is a dirty lie. You will get just as tan with it as without it, and without the painful burn.
Sand reflects light, just like snow. Sunglasses are super important to protect your eyes from getting burned. Also, those pretty sparkles on the water are like a gazillion little mirrors. You eyes aren’t built to handle prolonged exposure to this stuff. Take it from a dude who has had numerous horrific surgeries due to this very thing. It’s better to protect them than try to repair them.
And then there are your feet. Those dudes are really at risk because you can burn them on both sides. Because they aim straight up they are the most likely to get sunburned. And, a little thing that people don’t think about when they walk out onto the sand in the early part of the day is that after awhile the sand will get hot. Very hot. When you are down by the water you don’t realize it but between you and the area where the sand ends there will be a blistering hot stretch of sand that can and will fry your feet if they are not protected.
So, put sunblock on the top of your feet and take along some sort of footwear to put on when you are ready to leave the beach.
You moms and dads, be aware of this stuff and make sure the kids are really ready and that they are safe. They should always have something to cover themselves with, even if it is just a T-shirt and a beach towel. Drill it into their little heads to pay attention and use these little clues to beach survival.
And lastly, I could go on for weeks on this but this is all the space I have, it is extremely important that they have water. Dehydration is a very bad thing. Not cokes or soft drinks, they are dehydrators. WATER. Lots of it.
Good luck and with a little bit of common sense you will hopefully not come home looking like a lobster.
ASK THE EXPERT
Q. My 15-year-old son just started surfing and has asked for a wetsuit for his birthday. It appears there are a wide variety of them available at our local surf shop, but we have no idea of what to buy and I don’t think he does either. Can you shed some light on this for us please?
Tina French, Newport Beach
A. Yep, I can shed lots of enlightening light on that for you. First thing is that we are coming into the summer months where it’s much warmer. So you will want to think of getting him what is commonly referred to as a “spring suit.” These come with short legs and can have either long sleeves, short sleeves or no sleeves (Farmer John style). For summer here in the O.C. I would go with either no sleeves (he will need a rash guard to go with that) or short sleeves. In winter he will need a full suit with long legs and sleeves. Good luck.