A day at the beach: ‘In the sea, I lost my hold on my daughter’

An ocean bath looked like shelter on a high swell day. Then an almighty wave picked Gadia Zrihan and her daughter up, dragging them into open water

On a Monday afternoon, late last summer, my eight-year-old daughter and I headed to Bronte beach after school. The ocean was wild, churning with whitewater, and more riled up than I had ever seen it. We decided to play it safe and have a dip in the ocean pool instead.

It was not its usual tranquil oasis. Waves crashed over the ocean side, sending out swells that spread across the water. We initially hung out in the deep end, watching mesmerised, as daredevil teenagers standing on the ledge between the pool and the sea held onto barrier ropes to see if they could withstand the force of the waves. None could.

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