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drowning but not quite waving


There is no mistaking the sight of a couple of blokes on their way to the bottom is there.

Like these two the other day, both of them foundering out there halfway between the northern carpark and BJ Headland.

Shallow sandbank on the left, shallow sandbank on the right, and there they were about 300’ out and in the middle of the rip that was express draining both banks

– and like so many who have gone underwater before them they were trying to swim the 300 feet straight back to the beach against the flow rather than go diagonally to the shallow sand bar about ten feet away.

The local volunteers were about a mile down the beach flat out watching the weekend tourists. The kite surfers were, as usual, too full of themselves to notice two men struggling men in the rip, even though they were using the same channel of deep water to get outside of the break.

This is Sunday, Palm Beach, 2pm.

You know how people in trouble always look to the shore, whitefaced, never quite ready to lose face and wave for help and then doing these pathetic bursts of swimming before taking a breather and losing twice the ground gained.

These two didn’t die today as they finally made the side of the channel and waded onto the bar and after a long while they walked to the beach and flaked in the shallows.

All it took on my part was a bit of directional waving.

‘ We were just having some fun, ‘ said the biggest of them, between gasps, ‘ it was ok.’

No it wasn’t.

His smaller mate slid away, not wanting to talk.

The big man wheezed, smiled, and bent over for another breath.

‘ Thanks for your concerns, ‘ he said, we’re fine.’

No they weren’t.

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