Dom Joly: When life's a beach and the sheer effort leaves you worn out

Weird World of Sport

Share
Related Topics

A trip to the beach used to be so simple. You'd pack a towel, a bucket and spade and, if you were really adventurous, maybe a ball and those wooden bats that you only ever see at the seaside.

Once there, you might do some swimming or even run around on the sand but, sports-wise, that was that. The beach was for relaxing and chilling out – recharging your batteries in the sun. Not any more.

I drove to the lovely Cap Ferret (not Ferrat, that's the poncey one on the Côte d'Azure) near Bordeaux with the family. The idea was to have moules et frites at the legendary Chez Hortense before spending an afternoon relaxing on one of France's finest beaches. Bad idea. The beach was awash with sporting activity. Everywhere I looked was some strenuous pursuit.

To my right, a teenager was barely managing to stay grounded as he tried to control a large parafoil kite through some complex stunts. Just a hundred yards to his right, however, an actual kite surfer was setting off out to sea – he zoomed away before suddenly becoming airborne and being slammed back down with considerable force into the surf. He was helped gingerly out of the water by several sunbathers and, last I saw, was being carried off towards town over the dunes.

I tried to concentrate on my book but a gaggle of joggers went past. This being France, several of them were topless women – it was becoming very difficult to read in these trying circumstances. I looked out to sea – about 30 kids were bodysurfing on the Atlantic swell. They were whooping and hollering and having far more fun than I've ever had. I started to savour every painful wipeout and realised that I was rapidly turning into a grumpy old man.

I tried to return to my book but was interrupted by a large dog using me as a hurdle. It was after a frisbee its owner had thrown. The dog managed a breathtaking leap into the air, caught said frisbee and roared back, hurdling me once again and sending a fine spray of sand into my face. I thought of my beloved Labrador, Huxley, who was back in England. Even he would find this beach rather tiring, despite his love of the chase.

Out to sea, some tosser roared past on one of those stand-up jet skis. He spent the whole time checking the beach to see who was checking him out. I waited until the opportune moment before giving him the age-old Agincourt V-sign.

The family to my right got up and wandered down to the surf – what were they going to do, I wondered. Maybe a spot of kite-karting or perhaps attempting to all "hang ten" on a family-sized surfboard? My cynicism was uncalled for. The dad produced two of the aforementioned wooden bats and started to play with his daughter. This was more like it, I thought to myself. Then I noticed that the dad wasn't really paying that much attention to the game. He had his eyes firmly fixed on the beach volleyball about 70 yards away. Once again, in true French style, the participants were all topless women. I wondered whether the French tourism board paid comely young women a salary to wander the nation's beaches, luring middle-aged tourists.

I looked left – about seven boys, aged between seven and nine were throwing slim, oval-shaped pieces of wood along the surf-line and then jumping on them and sliding along the soaked beach. This, I found out, was called skimboarding and I admit it looked really good fun. The kids skimmed past us, laughing and shouting among themselves.

My kids looked at me in a way that made me realise that if I didn't go into town and fork out serious cash for some skimboards I would be a "serious loser." With a heavy sigh I got up, put on my silly middle-aged hat and started to trudge toward town. This was the most strenuous part of my day. To get there, you had to walk over huge dunes made of fine, crumbly sand. My feet sank deeper and deeper with every step. It was a gargantuan effort to keep going. Someone needs to invent the sand equivalent of snow shoes. Actually, scrap that – they probably already have and by the time I get back to the beach it will be all the rage and skimboarding will be "sooooo yesterday..."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: C#.Net Developer - C#, ASP.Net, HTML...

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding business based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - Scotland

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The Top Ten: Words In Christmas Carols That Ought To Be Revived

John Rentoul
Polish minister Rafal Trazaskowski (second from right)  

Poland is open to dialogue but EU benefits restrictions are illegal and unfair

Rafal Trzaskowski
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas