BEST BEACH GAMES

You’ve ran out of books to read. Your iPod battery is dead. You’ve de-sanded your towel for the fifth time in an hour and, quite frankly, you’re rather bored. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best beach games known to man so you can alleviate your beach-boredom, and look like the funnest bunch of cool cats on the strip. What’s more, you’ll work up such a sweat that that beach body will be yours in no time. Bonus.

Beach cricket | beach holidays

FOR SERIOUS SPORT ENTHUSIASTS: Cricket
Travel to Indian shores and you’ll pretty much see this being played everywhere you go. And for good reason too – Cricket enthusiasts are abundant in India and, by golly gosh, are they talented at it. Not to be outdone, however, Australia, England, and other countries soon caught on and, in 2006, Aussie beer brand XXXX created the Gold Beach Cricket Tri-Nations series (with England winning the first series – hoorah!). To write the entire rules of beach cricket would take much more space than this feature would allow – so we suggest you Google it. But to get you started, here’s a few pointers:

Use a tennis ball instead of a cricket ball

Cricket stumps can be substituted for bits of driftwood or washed-up bits and bobs you might find on the beach (warning: beached-jellyfish are not advisable)

Hitting into the water can either be out, or an exciting part of the game where heroic – yet wet- catches are made.

Beach volleyball

FOR LOVERS OF TOP GUN: Volleyball
Aviator shades and dogtags optional. Duck, dip and dive your way to victory in this classic American beach game. The object is to send the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent’s court. Don your best bod-bearing bikini (but make sure it’s secure in all the right places, as you’ll be doing a lot of jumping…) and, with ball under arm, prepare to impress with your spectacular volleyball manoeuvres. Either that, or be prepared to fall flat on your face while attempting to be Tom Cruise. Whatever your skill level, Beach Volleyball is one heck of an exciting game that will get your heart pumping. Fun in the sun – exactly what we love.

Sand sculpting`

FOR BIG KIDS: Sand Sculpting
You could be forgiven for thinking that this is just a posh name for building sandcastles, which essentially, it is – but sand sculpting requires skill, it requires precision…but overall it requires a bucket and spade. Have a gander at
www.sculpturesinsand.com for inspiration (and to get a clear advantage over your mates), then get to work creating your masterpiece. Giant turtles, UFOs and Lionel Richie’s head have all been subjects of sculpture, so go ahead and create whatever takes your fancy. Get another friend to judge the winning design and don’t forget to document your work by taking a picture, because the sea will swallow it up come high tide (but the satisfaction of winning will last much longer).

Tip: Mix a little sea water with your sand to create a more ‘workable’ texture. It’ll stick together better, making your miniature version of the Taj Mahal a much easier task to undertake.

Bocce ball

FOR TRADITIONALISTS: Bocce Ball
Allegedly the oldest sport in human history, this popular game belongs to the Boules sport family and originates from the ancient games played in the Roman Empire – see, we teach you historical facts too! It’s basically lawn bowls but with a few differences, namely the odd titles that describe each ball. For example, what we would call the marker, or ‘centre ball’, Bocce Ball lovers would call a ‘pallino’.  Call it what you want, this game – which has now been adapted for the beach – has international appeal and believe it or not, becomes unfathomably addictive, especially when playing with a bunch of competitive mates. The rules? Throw the Pallino so it lands a fair distance away from you and the rest of the players. Attempt to throw your ball (called a Bocce, surprisingly) closest to the Pallino. The winners are the ones who throw their Bocce consistently closest to the Pallino.

Phew! That’s enough Italian words for us – but if you like the sound of it, the next game may appeal to you just as much…

Teja

FOR SOME ‘LATINO’ ACTION: Teja
A traditional beach game played in Uruguay and very similar to Bocce Ball, Teja (pronounced te-ha), is taken very seriously by the Uruguayans, so much so that actual Teja leagues have been formed. Crikey.

Now, the rules are pretty complicated to a Teja novice, so pay attention.

What you’ll need:

Some friends (preferably of even numbers)

15 ‘discs’ – seven of one colour, seven of another, and one smaller ‘marker’ disc

Competitive edge

How to play:

1. Mark out a rectangular playing field in the sand

2. Divide the field in half

3. Throw the small marker disc across the middle marking line

4. Take turns in your teams to throw your seven discs as close as you can to the marker disc

5. Play continues until all the discs have been thrown

6. Teams gain one point for each of their discs that are closer to the marker than those of their opponents.

Got that? Simple! Teja is light-hearted and enjoyable beach fun (unless you’re playing with a competitive Uruguayan, of course…).

Thong throw

FOR LAZY BEACH-GAMERS: Thong throw
No effort required. Grab your Havaianas, give one to your mate and see how far you can lob each flip flop. The winner buys the first round of ice lollies.

Rules are:

1. Don’t whack any unsuspecting passers-by (especially not children) with your free-flying flip flop

2. Do expect a dog and/or seagull to mistake this for a chance to nick your shoes, leaving you to walk ashamedly barefoot over the hot sand. We’ve all done it. And it’s miserable.

Hula hoop

FOR 1950s BEACH BABES: Hawaiian Hula Hoop contest
No, we don’t mean seeing who can eat as many savoury snacks as possible – we mean the midriff-baring, harder-than-it-looks, ridiculously-toning act of hula hooping. Just like the Hawaiians did. Guaranteed to get you giggling, this vintage game involves seeing who can keep ‘hula hooping’ the longest. The amount of players is unlimited – all you need is a few hula hoops, a strong waist, a stop watch and a bit of balance thrown in for good measure. And we really do mean it when we say it’s harder than it looks – but if you’re up for a challenge, this is one game that will give you enviable abs in no time.

Frescobol

FOR TREND-SETTERS: Frescobol
Head to Brazil and you’ll find many a tanned and toned, beach-loving Brazilian playing Frescobol. Essentially bat and ball, Frescobol requires you to stand about 15 feet away from your partner, and hit the ball back and forth between you with a racquet. You can build up speed until you have a good rhythm going – a bit like table tennis, but without the table and with sand. In fact, Frescobol has become so much of a popular beach activity in Brazil and also the U.S, you can now purchase your own fibreglass or wooden racquet in a variety of colours and designs. Snazzy.

Tip: Do what the Brazilians do and give your tootsies a little cool down while you’re working up a sweat by playing Frescobol in the shallow waters of the sea.

Check out FB Collection’s Frescobol bats available on The Beach Tomato Shack

Ultimate frisbee

FOR THRILL-SEEKERS: Ultimate Frisbee
Ok, so we may be using the term ‘thrill-seekers’ loosely, but ultimate it certainly is. Possibly the most popular game for beach-lovers, there is even a governing body for the sport, BULA (Beach Ultimate Lovers Association). Rules are simple: buy a Frisbee, and ‘skim’ it to your friends. For those more serious players among you, there are a plethora of – some may say unnecessary – rules associated with playing Ultimate Frisbee but the basics are this: Players may not run with the frisbee, and may only move one foot, or ‘pivot’ while holding the it. Now grab that bikini and get frisbeeing!

Dig to Australia

FOR THE ESCAPIST: Digging to Australia (unless you are in Australia, in which case you’ll be digging somewhere else)
A favourite pastime of Joey Tribbiani in Friends, digging a huge hole in the sand may sound like a slight cop-out of a game, but boy, does it make you sweat. Give those arm muscles a good work-out by seeing who can dig the biggest hole in the fastest time – and make things interesting by setting a time limit and a forfeit for the loser. Whether you use your hands, a spade or both, you’ll soon have arms that rival those of Popeye. Note to cheaters: throwing your discarded sand in the general direction of your opponents’ hole may hinder their progress…but you didn’t hear that from us.

Phew! Now, time for a cool down. Race you to the water!

Words by Jen Needham

Digital Manager of Beach lifestyle and culture magazine, Beach Tomato. Sister company of the award winning travel brands Black Tomato, The Black Tomato Agency and Epic Tomato.