Surf & Water

Surviving the ocean

We may sound a bit silly, but we all want you to stay safe this summer. Swim between the flags!

Bondi Beach is patrolled by Waverley Council's Lifeguards (the ones in blue) and volunteer lifesavers (the ones in red and yellow). 

We are lucky to have excellent surf lifesavers and lifeguards, but it's important to recognise that they are not super heroes with special powers. If they can’t see you, they can’t save you. We can get up to 40,000 people on the beach on a hot summer's day!

Swim between the flags!
Bondi Beach is a kilometre long and with so many people, it can be hard for the lifeguards to keep a close eye on everyone in the surf. Swimming inside the red and yellow flags makes it much easier for the lifeguards to patrol the beach and keep everyone safe. Check out all Waverley Council's tips on staying safe at the beach here. 

Swim with a friend
It makes swimming more fun and you can look out for one another.

Never ever swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Most adult deaths by drowning are alcohol-related. 

Learn to recognise dangerous rips and waves
Often the beach has only gentle waves and currents but sometimes the waves or currents can be very powerful and overwhelm swimmers. It is important for beach swimmers to learn to recognise the strong currents (rips) and the dangerous waves
If you're stuck in a rip, do not try and swim against it.

What to do if you’re in trouble
Stay calm and attract attention by putting your arm in the air.

Be aware of rips
Most people who need rescuing at the beach have been caught in a rip. Rips can be recognised by the contrast with the surrounding sea. The rip is where there's a channel of calmer looking water. If the sea is calm, the rip is where there's a channel of rippled water. If caught in a rip don't panic and don't try and swim back in against the rip. Stay calm, put your hand up to attract attention.

This is a great video that will help you get clued up on the ocean.

Dumpers and surging Waves
Waves that don't break or waves that break very forcefully should be avoided. Dumpers are waves that break with force, usually at low tide, in shallow water. The crest of the wave plunges straight down instead of rolling down. Dumpers can cause serious injury. Anyone who has been dumped can remember the powerful force that kept them pinned onto the sand with the water swirling over them. Waves that don't break at all (surging waves) can knock swimmers over and drag them out to sea.

Want more information?
Contact Waverley Council's Lifeguard Co-ordinator on 83362 3407 or the lifeguard tower on 8362 3450, or download a handy brochure.

Don't get burnt

One of the first things many people notice when they land in Australia is how harsh the sun feels. The Australian sun is one of the harshest in the world. Intense UV radiation passes through the atmosphere and lands right here in Bondi. This UV radiation is harmful to you because it can cause sunburn and skin cancer. UV radiation can be strong even on cool, grey and overcast days.

This post is a bit of a lecture, we know - but we see far too many sunburnt travellers lining up at chemists and filling doctor's surgeries each summer. They aren't idiots, they just underestimate how harsh the sun is. We also know a bit about the real costs of a 'healthy glow'. If you need convincing about how important sun safety is watch this video.

Sunburnt at Bondi Beach So what if I get sunburnt - I’ll get a tan, right?
You might, but it's more likely you'll fit in with the scores of pained and lobster-red backpackers spotted in Bondi each summer. No one writes home about this experience as being fun. If the burn to your skin is bad you will need to stay indoors to let your skin recover. If it’s really bad you will need to go to the doctor.

For severe sunburn (blistering, fever, nausea), see a doctor.

It's important to drink lots of fluids as sunburn can cause dehydration, but avoid cold drinks, which can cause chills. It can also help to have a cool (not cold) shower, and to apply cool or lukewarm compresses. Did you know? Water magnifies the sun's harmful rays. If you feel you've had enough sun move indoors, not into the water. Also, remember to re-apply sunscreen after swimming.

What do the experts recommend?

From the Cancer Council Australia:
Staying in the shade is one of the most effective ways to reduce exposure to the sun.
Remember, you can still get sunburnt even if you are in the shade! This is largely due to reflected UV radiation that bounces off surfaces such as concrete, water and sand.

Follow these tips to prevent sunburn this summer:

• Slip on clothing that covers your arms and legs 
• Slap on a broad brimmed hat 
• Slop on 30+, broad-spectrum sunscreen 
• Seek shade 
• Slide on wrap around sunglasses

Being sunburnt can be a real hassle. It messes with your plans and can make your holiday a real pain. 

Things you won’t be able to do sunburnt. 

• Go back in the sun. You will want to find somewhere in indoors to hang out. 
• Sleep well. Those sheets you’ve been sleeping in will suddenly feel more like sandpaper.  
• Wear perfumes or deodorants with alcohol in them. Youch! 
•  Shave. Youch!
•  Get a massage. 
•  Do anything really active. Your skin feels really hot and you feel like resting a lot. 
•  Snorkel or swim outdoors (the water magnifies the sun) 
•  Look your best, with your skin peeling off, 
•  Have a conversation without someone saying ‘oh wow, you’re really burnt’.
•  Drink alcohol. Due to the time spent in the sun, your body will likely become dehydrated.

It makes you feel really horrible and foggy. Vibe killer. 

Be sun smart and keep your memories sweet - send us your photos for the My Bondi Summer Blog! Take a photo of you and your friends being sun safe - think cute hats, sunnies, or even chilling out in the shade - and send them in! The best shots will be published on the My Bondi Summer blog!

Surfer's code of conduct

You made the decision to go for a surf at Bondi Beach? Enjoy!

You might even get lucky and get to spend some time with some dolphins in the water. However you will most probably not be the only surfer in the water. Make sure you read through the surfer's code of conduct to avoid getting hurt, hurt others or offend the Bondi Beach locals.

Surfer's code of conduct by Australia's Surfing Coast Website

Source: Australia's Surfing Coast Website

The surfers' code is a set of universal surfing safety tips, rules and unwritten laws that you must abide by.
This is surfing etiquette that applies to everyone in the surf whether young or old, beginner or pro.

Follow these simple rules and you’ll save yourself a nasty accident or car park brawl.

1. Don’t drop in

Basically, this means the person closest to the breaking wave has the right to ride it. Wait your turn in the lineup. (As a beginner, avoid the lineup until you are confident you can do controlled take-offs). And don’t catch a wave and then turn straight back around.

2. Paddle wide
Don’t paddle out to the line-up through the impact zone (where the waves are breaking and people are surfing) or where others are waiting to catch a wave. When paddling out, a surfer riding the wave always has right of way.

3. Communicate
When catching a wave let others know which way you are going. Refrain from verbally abusing other surfers.

4. Don’t throw your board
Hang on to your board. Learn to duck dive to get under waves. Make sure your leg rope is intact. Never throw your board – it could seriously injure someone.

5. Respect the beach, the ocean and others

Respect the beach, don’t be a wave hog and respect more experienced surfers than yourself. Do your bit to keep the beach and ocean clean.

Sober Santa

Alcohol and water really don’t mix well in Bondi and a huge majority of deaths by drowning have involved alcohol.  There will be a whole lot of security and police to keep everyone safe this summer. If you are caught drinking alcohol in the alcohol free zone areas, the fines are extremely expensive. But never fear .... there are lots of hotels, wine bars and restaurants bars open early till late where you can quench your thirst safely!