SCMP Wednesday, July 11, 2001

The Source - beach accessories


Here comes summer and with it the promise of lazy days on the beach or by the pool. Take a few well-chosen accessories with you and have some stylish fun in the sun.
It's essential to have a good beach bag that accommodates all the sun creams, towels, reading and music you need. Maymayking (G/F, 55 Graham Street, Central, tel: 2445 5655), a fantastic addition to the SoHo shopping scene, offers a cornucopia of options from around Asia ($80 to $299). Bags in floral patterns, candy stripes and fruit-sherbet solids fill the shop, with a few neutral colours for the more conservative shopper. There are 1970s-style crochet bags ($99) from Shanghai, striped mesh bags from Vietnam ($99 to $139) and huge tarpaulin bags ($129) with haphazardly placed words that reveal their industrial origins. For a more traditional look, there is an array of large baskets with durable, shoulder-length straps ($199 to $299).
Stripping off in the sun doesn't mean shedding your sense of style. Maymayking also sells sequinned flip-flops ($100), fans ($129) and towelling cosmetics cases ($159) with, of course, matching beach bags ($280).
Anyone who enjoys the water should head straight for Loong Kee (G/F, 38D Kwei Lin Street, Shamshuipo, tel: 2386 9124). The stationery shop that dives head-first into most seasonal celebrations is now fully equipped for summer. The extensive selection of inflatables ($12 to $195) includes lilos, armbands, rubber rings and many more. Cool kids will love Extreme H20's Inflatable Surf Rider ($59), while aspiring pirates can train in a one- or two-person dinghy ($155 to $230). Fortunately, Loong Kee also sells various pumps ($10 to $42), such as the sleek Goma Heavy Duty model ($12). As well as water guns (about $8), sandcastle sets ($15 to $39) and a wide variety of balls ($4 to $55) to keep summer boredom at bay, Loong Kee sells natural and plastic beach mats ($15 to $60), earplugs, swimsuits and goggles. Anyone with a roof terrace, large balcony or garden might consider one of the shop's inflatable or free-standing pools. Splash solo in the smallest round pool (86cm by 15cm, $48) or host a party in the largest rectangular model (304cm by 177cm by 56cm, $520).
For serious watersports accessories, Pro-Dive (2/F, 127 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2890 4889) is one of the best. Offering scuba-diving equipment, lessons and travel advice, Pro-Dive also sells gear for the less ambitious. If snorkelling is more your thing, informed staff will guide you through the shop's selection. Choose from a Tusa, Oceanic, Cressi or Scuba Pro snorkel ($140 to $350), or buy a Techni Sub snorkel-and-mask set for only $270. Masks cost $330 to $500, and can be modified with prescription lenses ($195 a lens). Pro-Dive sells a good selection of goggles ($70 to $150), including ready-made prescription goggles by Speedo ($149), and has an extensive range of fins by the likes of Cressi, Mares, Scuba Pro and Tusa ($220 to $1,700).
Lumbered with all that equipment, who has room for a cumbersome towel? Instead, go for a lightweight sports towel from Speedo ($149) or NYC ($89), and keep everything dry in a waterproof bag by Hydro Venture ($99 to $490) or a Dry Tek backpack ($380). And don't forget to check out the swimsuit rack (from $95 each).
Avoid roasting yourself and your new toys in the hot rays by purchasing a beach umbrella. Umbrella stalls, such as the unmarked one in front of 31 Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai, sell various sizes of umbrellas with a detachable spike for $65 to $410.
Email Fiorella Bassi at .