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  • When I was a child, summer weekends invariably included a trip to the beach. My brother would go off with his friends. Mum would sunbathe and read a book. None of that interested me; the thunderous surf was too enticing. I would play all day in the sea, and when was tired, I'd float out past the breakers, lulled by the gentle swell of the Indian Ocean.

    I loved my foam surfboard and my snorkel and mask, but Dad was my favourite toy. I would crouch on his shoulders in the deeper water. It had to be the right depth, where he could just touch the bottom with his toes. We'd wait for the biggest wave to come, spotting the right one was half the fun. Dad would duck down at the last moment, submerging us both as the wave crashed over us. When it was safe we'd shoot our way back up to the surface, whooping with delight as we emerged victoriously, both of us grinning from ear to ear.

    I would dive off his shoulders, again and again. I'd badger him to do 'whirlies' - holding me by my hands and swinging me in a circle through the water - until I was dizzy and could laugh no more.

    When it began to get dark, we'd all pile into the car; sandy and salty, tired and happy, harmonious for a whole day.

    (The photo is of Cottesloe Beach, Perth, Western Australia, our family's favourite beach)
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