RICHARD ORD: In these Covid days you can't see the water for the wetsuits

There’s an awful lot of people throwing themselves into the sea around our place.
"Excuse me, but I can't see the sea...""Excuse me, but I can't see the sea..."
"Excuse me, but I can't see the sea..."

Rather than peaceful walks along the beach contemplating life and the majesty of nature, I am instead confronted at all times of day with a sea of bobbing humans. It’s not a majestic sight.

It’s like a collective coronavirus madness. Almost as if people didn’t realise the sea was there before we were confined to our homes. Then, all of a sudden, they noticed this big blue wobbly thing at the edge of the beach and wondered if it was cold. And on finding it was bleeding freezing, jumped in anyway.

Like I say, a collective madness.

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Some are on surfboards, some in canoes, there’s paddle boards, kayaks, windsurfers, and kite surfers. Others just splash about in their shorts.

‘Lobster people’ my other half calls them. Not because of their aquatic abilities, but the colour of their skin as they emerge from the frozen depths. Red raw. Like lobsters. But, I ask, do lobsters also have blue lips? To which you should always answer: ‘I don’t know, I’ve never kissed one.’ Even if you’re a marine biologist.

All these people throwing themselves into the sea before it’s even summer should be a cause for concern. But apparently it’s very good for your mental health. Though, it has to be said, that advice appears, in the main, to be coming from people prepared to throw themselves into the sea.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, I say. And I say that even though my application to join the SAS has yet to receive a reply.

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And so it was that my 17-year-old son decided he wanted to go surfing. Rather than buying him a wetsuit, I suggested he tried my other half’s wetsuit for size.

While we went shopping, he rang to say he’d got it on, but thought it might be a bit tight.

We asked him to send a photo, which he did and, while it was snug fitting, it looked fine. “Great,” he said. “I’ll take it off and get back to you.”

Five minutes later he rang back to say he was struggling to get the hood of the wetsuit back over his head to get out. “Just pull hard,” was the advice.

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Five minutes later he was back on. “It won’t budge,” he said. “Just pull,” we repeated.

Two minutes later he was back. “It won’t move,” he said. “And my arms are tiring.”

A minute later he was back. “I think I might be trapped in here.” These calls went back and forth until he, eventually, and not without some moments of panic, managed to free himself.

He likened his predicament to the rock climber in the movie 127 Hours, who having got his arm caught in a rock was forced to cut it off to escape!

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“I thought I was going to have to cut off my head to escape,” he said. Luckily he has no intention of entering the medical profession.

Which is a pity, because listening to my panicking son trying to wrestle himself out of a too-tight wetsuit is the perfect health tonic. I’ve never laughed so much in ages… and as a mental health boost it’s a lot warmer than throwing yourself into the sea.