Sporting your jandals in support of Surf Life Saving

Today, the first Friday of December, is National Jandal Day down under in New Zealand. If you’re not a Kiwi or an Aussie, you may not be familiar with the term ‘jandal’. Well, depending where you’re from, jandals may be called flip-flops, thongs, slip-slops, zori… Basically it’s your classic, open-toe, flat-sole sandal with the Y-shaped strap between the toes, often worn at the beach or other informal situations.

Jandal Day raises funds for Surf Life Saving.
Jandal Day raises funds for Surf Life Saving.

Jandals have a long history, worn by the Egyptians as early as 4000 BC, as well as by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The modern-day jandal is styled on the Japanese zori that was popular with American soldiers returning home after World War II.

The term ‘jandal’ is, in fact, short for ‘Japanese sandal’, and in New Zealand it really is an integral part of the culture – Kiwis love their jandals, in summer at the beach, but often even in winter, when it feels like every uncovered part of your body is about to freeze off, you’ll see some staunch Kiwi bloke sporting his jandals, seemingly oblivious to the cold despite a somewhat bluish hue around the toe area.

No matter what the rest of your attire, jandals are compulsory beach wear!(© All Rights Reserved)
No matter what the rest of your attire, jandals are compulsory beach wear!
(© All Rights Reserved)

National Jandal Day is a fundraising event for Surf Life Saving – a pretty good cause in a water-locked country made up of two islands, where almost all cities and towns are by the seaside. Funds raised through Jandal Day are used to train life guards, sponsor beach patrols and fund beach safety education programmes delivered to over 40 000 NZ school children each year.

Wherever you are in the world, why not slip on a pair of jandals / flip-flops in support of Jandal Day. Those in some northern hemisphere locations may be well-advised to remain inside with your jandals, to avoid losing a toe or ten through frostbite, but for those of us in the southern half of the world, rocking out in your favourite jandals at this time of year, with work winding down and the summer holidays approaching, is almost compulsory.

Locally, donations can be made by texting “SURF” to 4483 to donate $3 (and you get a song by young artist Jamie McDell for your efforts) or by donating online.

Getting some sand between your toes on Play In The Sand Day

Today, August 11 is Play In The Sand Day.

If you have kids, or simply want to get in touch with your inner child, grabbing a pail and shovel and spending some quality time in a sandpit may not be a bad idea. Or even better, take a trip to your nearest beach and have a go at nature’s own giant sand pit – just watch out for Physalia utriculus, those innocent looking little bubbly blue organisms (aka ‘blue bottles’) that can spoil your sandy fun with a nasty, burning sting.

Of course playing in the sand is not all fun and games – it can be a serious artistic endeavour.  Sand sculpting has become a well-organised international creative activity – just look at some of these mindblowing examples.

OK, so maybe you’re not quite in the mood for sand castles, and simply need some me-time to chill out and get quiet for a while. Well, then some playing in the sand may still be your solution – you just need to define it a little differently.

Exploring shipwrecks on a sandy beach – another way of playing in the sand.
(© All Rights Reserved)

Whether it’s a long, lazy walk along a sandy beach, a day exploring shipwrecks half-buried in the sand, or an afternoon spent on hands and knees, nose almost in the sand, studying your local coastal fauna and flora, whatever rocks your world, it’s all good.

However you manage to get away from it all and get some sand between your toes, I hope you have a great, relaxing Saturday.