Once again, the heat is back in Melbourne!
After a long miserable winter and a spring that was just not hot enough, this is definitely a cause to celebrate – and if you’re like me and you’ve been waiting for summer all year long (or if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and you need to escape the snow), I bet you too can’t wait to drag your asses off to the beach and give it some much needed sun! Lucky for us who live here in Victoria, Australia, our choices for beaches aren’t limited, but there’s one beach at the Great Ocean Road you might want to check out (if you haven’t already been): it’s Anglesea Surf Beach.
Anglesea Surf Beach is conveniently just about an hour and a half from Melbourne, and like many other beaches in the coast, it gets really packed in the summer, especially around the Christmas holidays. Families and friends flock to the 400-meter long beach, set up their tents, put down their towels and get their tan, but if you don’t know yet what most people go there for (the name itself is a give-away!), it’s this: the waves.
Waves in Anglesea Surf Beach average about 1 meter, and it’s perfect for surfers who are inexperienced and are only just beginning to learn the sport. It’s patrolled, and as long as you swim in-between the yellow flags, then you’ve got nothing to worry about.
How to ride a wave without surfing
However, there are some people in this world born without a single sporty bone in their bodies, and unfortunately (or fortunately?) for me, I am one of them. Surfing has never really been in my list of interests, but I’m also not the type of person who would let go of a fun opportunity to play under the sun and get some sand on me – and no, I’m not talking about beach cricket. No, it’s not beach volleyball either.
Thus enter in the picture, my inflatable Giant Flamingo. Bought online as a Christmas gift for myself at giantflamingo.com.au for $79 (no, I was not paid to advertise them), I brought it along to a day spent with my friends at Anglesea Surf Beach. I personally don’t have a pool of my own to use it, and I just thought it was the perfect time to blow it up. And that’s how I found out how non-surfers like me can enjoy the waves of this beautiful pristine beach.
According to Flamingo’s specifications, it’s 202cm long, 191cm wide and 118cm tall. That’s pretty huge. It took five people to blow the whole thing up, so if you’re willing to try this you might as well bring a pump too, but once it’s all done and set up, that’s when the fun begins.
My friends and I dragged the Giant Flamingo (I insisted on giving it a name but my friends refused) to the sea, and although Anglesea’s water is cool, your body gets used to it anyway – and depending on how hot the weather is on the day you go, it is actually very refreshing. Once the water is deep enough for the Flamingo to float and carry a person, you’re all good to go.
By good to go, I mean your friends will have to take you (obviously while you’re on the Flamingo, so hold on tight at the handles!) out to sea to meet the waves, and once you get a pretty good and high wave, you face the Flamingo to the beach and ride the wave like a body board. It’s a new way to enjoy the waves, it’s fun, and it’s in style.
Obviously, you can’t have a perfect ride all the time, and with the waves smashing every now and again, even just getting on it is a fun challenge – you will definitely fall off, many many many times, so make sure you know how to swim! Don’t worry, you will laugh a lot and so will the onlookers as they watch you get thrown off. You don’t ever have to worry about losing your Flamingo either as it is too big and you’ll never lose sight of it.
It’s also a great way to meet the locals and tourists of Anglesea Surf Beach, as for sure they will approach you in some way or another to say how cool your Flamingo is, or to give it back to you after you’ve fallen off of it. You might have to apologize a couple of times to some people for accidentally crashing into them while you’re riding a wave inland on your Giant Flamingo, but don’t worry – it’s not wood like a surfboard, so it doesn’t hurt!
I have to put a disclaimer though. Obviously, “Flamingo-Boarding” is not a proper sport, so it is best done with adult supervision if you are not an adult yourself. Also, it’s more fun with a lot of friends involved. Inflatables are also made for pools or calm bodies of water such as lakes, so I don’t know how long it lasts if used frequently on surf beaches. Mine is definitely made out of top quality material and it had no damage to it whatsoever after half a day of rolling on and off the shore.
Anglesea Surf Beach is just so perfect for this “new-found sport” because the waves are just the perfect height for your average swimmer. The waves do tend to get a bit low when it’s not high tide, but that’s when you just casually lay on your inflatable Flamingo by the beach and get some Vitamin D – just remember to slap on some sunscreen beforehand and let it dry as the inflatable could get slippery. It’s a really great towel alternative as the thing to sit or lie on if you do not want to get too much sand on you, but of course, it’s the beach, and you will always get some sand in some if not every part of your body.
So if you have your own Inflatable Flamingo or Swan or Duck or Goose or Shark, and you think it can handle a bit of rough seas, then head on down to the fun little seaside town of Anglesea and enjoy the waves. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, but in case, Anglesea Surf Beach is right next to the river where there are other activities you can enjoy without a Flamingo in tow. Picnics, sunbathing, canoeing, paddle boarding, and fishing are just some of the few things you can do at Anglesea River, so even if you’re unsure of what to do, what is sure is that you will always have fun at the end of the day!
Just check out some of our photos!