Your guide to swimming goggles…
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weekly in season.
One of those idyllic early morning swims: The Happiest Resort Manager, off Forster.
- Gogs for discerning ocean swimmers
- Glistening Dave's 2021 oceanswims calendar ready to order
- Bondi-Bronte goes virtual
- Covid swims coming up
- Swimmer tells: How to spot a fake
- oceanswimsafaris in 2021
- Tonga: We don't take you just anywhere
- Swims open to online entry
- Odds 'n Ends
Gogs for discerning swimmers
It's time we talked about goggles… Some may see this as an ad, and we understand that (since we sell a particular brand). But we have a bit of experience with swim goggles and, every now and again, it's useful to talk about them to canvass issues that arise with your gog selection, their use, and—most importantly—their management. Yes, swim gogs must be managed appropriately, otherwise they will work against you, not for you… They should be your friend, not your enemy…
Perhaps the most personal item of equipment you use—even more personal than your budgys—are your gogs. Some codgers still swim without them, because they grew up swimming sans-gogs and if that was good enough for them then, it’s good enough for them now, and there’s no point arguing against with them, and they’re not going to change for anyone, especially for some smarty pants young bloke who reckons he knows better… But ocean swimming is much more comfy with gogs than it is without, which is why the vast majority of mug punters use them. For one thing, they let you see where you’re going. And what’s about to bite you. Or sting you.
But choosing your gog is not the simplest thing to do. Different mugs have different eye shapes, different shaped heads, bigger or lesser or higher or flatter noses, more or less hair, more closed or open ‘tudes to life. And different gogs have different shapes, different specs and structures, different materials, different designs, etc. All these things go into the bubbling cauldron to mean that one size does not fit all, and one gog does not suit everyone.
All of you will know, too, that there are ‘great issues of our time’ with gogs. These start with water seal (do they keep water out), clarity (do they let you see things through their lenses), vision (when you can see through the lenses, how much can you see, particularly either side, not just straight ahead), comfort (do they fit your eyes and head comfortably, or are there niggling pressure points, such as straps that are too tight, nose bridges that cut into your conk, seals that leave Rocky Raccoon marks around your eyes all day after using them), etc, etc. The issues are endless, and critical to their efficacy.
There are also issues of price: how much do you pay for what you get? Can you get as good or even better with another brand at a better price? (Warning: more expensive does not mean better.) And distribution? Are your fave gogs easy to obtain? Or must you go a’ hunt’n fer ‘em every time they start to fog up? Longevity? How long will they last you before they lose their quality and their effectiveness? (Some/many gogs are made with silitex and, 'experts' say, don't last as long becasue they because they harden earlier than goggles made with silicone.)
We also know that, when you find a goggle that suits just fine, then they are gold and you will do anything to keep them and to keep using the same model, whatever the brand may be.
We are not in a position to advise on every model gog available. They are myriad. We do know that many of them are pure and utter shite. We also know that many of the more expensive models are not worth the extra expense, particularly when compared with what else is available at much lower cost. You must do these evaluations yourself. We can advise on the issues and on the management of your gogs to help you get the best from what you have. Believe it or not, Mr Ripley, even good gogs play up, and when they do, it’s usually because of your management of them. All life’s problems come down to management, after all.
Dolphy looks down on us, as well as up, at Bongin Bongin Bay (Image by David Helsham @glistenrr)
The quest of the perfect ocean swim relies heavily on the quest for the perfect goggle. (It's like blokes, whose lives are dedicated, if they have any discernment at all, to the quest for the perfect shave.) Regular readers of these pages will be aware that we are involved with a particular brand of gog, which we sell through our oceanswims boutique. This brand is View, a Japanese brand from the stable that also produces the Tusa brand for scuba divers. Both are from the house of Tabata, one of the world's most respected brands in aquatic clobber. We’ve been using Views ourselves for the last 20-odd years, since well before we became involved with them through oceanswims.com. That means that we knew the gog well before we became involved with them commercially. It’s important that we state that upfront so that you know that what we say here has more to it than simply a sell. We loved them before we loved each other.
Some might think we’re telling all this just to flog Views. Yes, that’s partly the case. But it’s also handy, from time to time, to run through the common goggle issues so that we might all learn from common experience. That’s what we’re here for. It may be, after all, that Views are not the gog for you. We have met few who have not loved them, however.
We all have our own procedure each time we use our gogs. Generally, that procedure involves doing something to the inside of the lens in the hope that this will make them fog-free. This might be wetting the lens with fresh water or sea water; some punters use dishwashing detergent (in the olden days, they used to coat the inside of the lens with soap—Good grief!); like many punters, we always spat on the inside of our lenses before they were wet (we’re lucky: we have good quality, high viscosity spit, which proves highly effective at promoting the anti-fog quality of swim gogs), although even our gollies were hit and miss at times, and the quality diminished if we'd eaten or drunk something just before entering the water. Some people (Mrs Sparkle, eg) use a form of ‘goggle goo’, a special liquid that aids the anti-fog quality. Different makers offer goo, but you must be careful with it: one particular brand of goo is known to have left several swimmers of whom we're aware in hospital, almost blinded with chemical burns, after it reacted after they put them on. Another swimmer suffered from baby shampoo. Goo, etc, must be used sparingly, with the lenses rinsed lightly after application to remove the excess (to protect the eyes).
None of these treatments can guarantee you fog-free swimming, however.
Can this be true?
Every now and again, something comes along that changes the game completely. A few years back, for example, one gog maker started putting alternating coloured stripes around their frames. That made you swim faster and see better, apparently (like buying a red car made you drive faster) and in the process you paid up to/close to $100 for a single pair of gogs. More fool you.
It’s been over a year now since we began selling the Swipe, a new style of gog from View. This gog comes in two basic shapes: the Selene, which is the same lens shape as our long-time biggest selling gog, also named Selene (the world’s most comfy gog, we reckon); and the Wide–Eyes, which has a different lens shape with three different-sized, interchangeable nose bridges. It offers a slightly wider field of view than the Selene, hence its nickname.
What makes Swipes different from other gogs is the coating on the inside surface of the lens, which gives what the makers say is up to ten times the anti-fog quality of previous gogs. All you had to do in the event of fog, they say, is ‘swipe’ the inside of the lens with your finger, to activate the Swipe quality. They reckoned you could do that 1,500 times before the anti-fog quality might degrade.
The early morning trudge… Some see it as like reporting for work.
This is a big call. We were highly sceptical when we heard it.
View were touting the Swipe gogs to us for some time before we told you about them. And when we got our mits on some at last, we were not going to start talking about them until we were satisfied that they behaved as they were touted to.
They did. We used our first pair, Swipe Selenes, for 28 swims before we had to do anything other than put them on our noggins: from the case, just put them on; no treatment, no wetting, no spitting, nothing; not even any need to ‘swipe’. Just put them on. They remained clear throughout.
After 28 swims, they started to hold some mist (very light fog). So we began to swipe when necessary. And to wash them every few uses lightly with dishwashing detergent. This is in addition to our normal goggle care procedure. (See below for more on Goggle Respect.) The reason for this is that all gogs accumulate grease from your body, especially if you’re using sun cream. No gog, no matter how brilliant they’re touted to be, will resist body grease.
With our Queen, Mrs Sparkle, we’ve been using Swipes consistently now for over a year. We wore our original Swipe Selenes for 56 outings till we lost them in a change room, and now we alternate between Swipe Selenes and Swipe Wide-Eyes. We swim daily in the sea, so we have built up a bit of experience with them to report back to you now.
Much of this applies to any gog, not just Views…
- Maintain routine maintenance (rinsing after each use, air dry, storing in case, etc… See Goggle Respect below)
- Wash lightly in dishwashing detergent every few uses; air dry
- Before each use, wet the inside of the lens lightly with sea water.
- Don gogs.
That’s it. When following this routine, we do not—WE DO NOT—experience gog-fog (with our View Swipes). We have clear vision throughout, limited only by the clarity of the water.
Since we began to offer the Swipes, we’ve sold over 600 pairs of Swipe gogs to ocean swimmers. If major issues were going to emerge over that time, we figure they would have. They have not.
Some issues come up with all kinds of gogs, including Views obtained from oceanswims.com. They are common to all gogs (except Swipes). This is how we deal with them…
Usually caused by grease on the inside of the lens (as well as by inferior lenses). You must keep your gogs clean and store them in a box where they won’t accumulate dirt and grease. Be careful to treat them with clean hands. Don’t wipe around the inside of the lens if you’ve just applied sunscreen. (You’d think all of this is commonsense, but it’s not to some punters.) One of the major problems arises with swimmers who throw their gogs around, eg onto the sandy, tinead ground, store them with wet cossies and towels and leave them to roll around in their car boot, much like surfboat rowers store their gear throughout the season, the boot gradually becoming a fertile incubator of fungus and mould as the season ploughs on. One swimmer complained to us after using his Swipes that they had started to fog and he couldn’t fix them. Turns out, in Covid, he’d switched from swimming in the sea to a bay with boat traffic. On our advice, he washed his gogs… problem solved.) If you abuse your gogs, they will take revenge on you, and it will be your fault.
In early morning swims, it pays to watch the bottom as you schlepp along, especially near lakes entrances.
Either inferior or ill-fitting gogs, or commonly straps that are too tight. Some punters think that you improve the seal of your gogs by tightening the strap. No. The tighter the strap, the more likely that will break the seal around the lenses. And it will cut off circulation to the brain (it’s a perpetual circle: cut off circulation to the brain… can’t think properly… do stupid things… tighten gog straps… cut off circulation even more…) Straps should be just tight enough to hold the gogs in place. It’s not the tightness that seals, it’s the quality of the seals themselves.
Place the gogs over your eyes with the strap hanging loose. Well-fitting gogs of any kind should sit in place, even momentarily. If they do, most of the battle is won. If they don’t, seek out another style.
Nose bridge cuts into conk
Either seek out gogs with an adjustable nose piece offering different sizes to cover your nose bridge (eg Swipe Wide-Eyes). Or shop around a bit more for gogs that suit your face. View has many models. In all our years selling Views (14 years), we’ve found only one swimmer who didn’t find Selenes comfortable and effective (there might have been a second one many years ago… can’t quite recall).
Good gogs are gold. They are your most personal piece of equipment. You must respect them. For further advice, see our article, Goggle Respect… Click here
Another haunting image by Glistening Dave (@glistenrr), from Bongin Bongin Bay. Dave's annual oceanswims calendar 2021 is available to order online now in the oceanswims.com boutique… Click here
There are Swipe Selenes available in five colours. Wide-Eyes non-mirrored come in four colours, and mirrored come in three colours.
Out of left field: One of the least popular, but we reckon the best colour is the Swipe Selenes BR. The BR means bronze or brown, not sure which. It’s not a popular colour, just like brown suits, but it’s actually a very soft, forgiving colour for swimming in harsh sunlight, and a warm colour for cooler water swimming, over winter, say. We use the BR about half the time these days (alternating with BLEM – Blue/Emerald) Wide-Eyes mirrored. They’re terrific for early morning swims when you spend half your time staring into the rising sun. Every swimmer needs a quiver of gogs.
But every swimmer also needs to look after their gogs; to respect them. If you don’t respect your gogs, they will not respect you. And don’t go blaming the gogs all the time (although plenty really are shite), it will all come down to how you manage them.
Find out more and order your View Swipes… Click here
Glistening Dave's oceanswims calendar
2021 edition taking orders now
We're taking orders for Glistening Dave's oceanswims calendar for 2021. Dave has assembled some of his fave pics from the year just gone, and some from earlier years, in his memorable calendar, the 11th annual, we think. It's assembled quite a following over the last few years. It's a perfect Xmas gift for ocean swimmers, and a great way to fill that space on your wall.
Due to Covid-19 uncertainty, however, it's not been possible to cram all the swim dates into this year's calendar. But it's image-rich.
Available now on the oceanswims.com online boutique… Click here
Bond-Bronte goes virtual
A message from the organisers, Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim…
The 2020 Macquarie Bondi to Bronte swim has gone virtual! We encourage ocean swimmers around Australia to get together with your regular swim buddies and swim locally. With ever changing restrictions on travel and gatherings organisers concluded that times were too uncertain to hold a live event that traditionally attracts 2000+ swimmers.
This year swim at a location that works for you, anytime between Saturday 5 and Sunday 13 December. The nine days, including 2 weekends, allows you to complete your swim in the best possible conditions. Rumour has it a few hardy swimmers are aiming to swim the distance at a different beach every day for nine days!
Importantly, you need to sign up this week so your unique event swim cap can be posted out to you in time. Only $20 for entry, with $5 going to the swim charity partner The Kids Cancer Project: Enter online… Click here
Covid: Swims coming up
Warriewood course an 'epic'
Less than two weeks till the only actual ocean swim of the end of calendar 2020 in Sydney, around Turimetta headland into Warriewood… The Chieftain Challenge is a revival of a course tried a few years back, but at a different time of year now (last time was in autumn), so the experience should be different. Last time, this swim was run in autumn; now, we're in early summer (Sundee, December13). It is one of the most spectacular courses on the coast.
Entries are online only; they're capped (both for Covid-19) and they close on oceanswims.com at 3pm the day prior.
Find out more and enter… Click here
More news on Covid-affected swims in season 2020/21…
Mona Vale (Jan 24) – Will run on an altered course that will be finalised on swim day. Course will involve start and finish at Mona Vale, so punters don't need to crowd onto buses from Mona Vale to the usual start at Warriewood.
Big Swim (Palm-Whale, Jan 31) - Only one swim for each swimmer with start times staggered: the longer swim at 8:30 and the Little Big Swim at 11 am. Council approval still TBC.
North Bondi (Jan 10 and Feb 14) – Swimmers may do only one swim on each swim day, either the 1km or the 2km. Entry options still will offer Combos with reduced rates for booking both days, but just one swim on each occasion.
Bondi, Freshwater (Feb 28) – Freshwater has moved forward a week to the last Sunday in February, due to a clash with the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships on its usual date. This means Freshwater will clash with Bondi in season 2020/21.
Coogee, Narrabeen, Forster (all Apr 10) – It's going to be a crowded day on the traditional Super April Sundee. Coogee has confirmed for that date; so has Narrabeen (postponed from November) and Forster (usual date).
Most swims are taking online entries only to satisfy Covid-19 requirements to retain complete data bases of contacts for all entrants. Yamba is an exception, because they have a QR Scan system set up to capture all those who enter the clubhouse on swim day. Most swims also plan a cap as low as 300, also to satisfy Covid-19 requirements. This may change as those requirements vary over time. Check each event page on oceanswims.com.
How to spot a fake
Swimmer tells all
Everyone has a friend who’s a bit dodgy. Not all that they seem on the surface. We had (let's call him) 'Archie'. Not crook dodgy, but you couldn’t take what he said for granted. Not for nothing that 'Archie' was known also as The Prince of Promises. 'Archie' would promise all things to all people. He couldn’t possibly deliver on them all, and you should know that. He was the most charming of cobbers, who once wandered into the wedding reception of complete strangers, and wandered out with a new girlfriend.
'Archie' passed away in 2019. It was tragic in the end. A bone marrow disease. We don’t seek to impugn his memory; he was a good, generous and loyal friend, provided you didn’t rely on him too much. But even when 'Archie' let you down, he expected you to have expected he would let you down, so it was not his fault, really. 'Archie' led a carefree life, doing the best he could. The only thing he was ever serious about was surfboat rowing, and about that his seriousness was, er… serious.
But what is it about some people that makes them like that: what makes them promise things they can’t deliver; what makes them tell porkies, or hold themselves out as something they are not, or can’t possibly be? Why do they make up yarns about who they are? To fake themselves? Is it something malicious? Or an innocent personality flaw?
'Archie' wasn't so much a fake as he was just not real good at shouldering responsibility; he was at the pale end of the spectrum in this. Generally, he meant no harm. It was just in ‘im. He was an intelligent, highly sociable bloke who simply had difficulty with responsibility.
Not everyone is as benign. Some are complete frauds who take their partners for all their worth, financially, emotionally, often both. Why are they like this? Why can’t they be normal people, of good faith? What thrill do they get from the deception? Is it the thrill of getting away with it?
Now, although we still don’t have the complete answer, we have a guide to spotting these fakes. Stephanie Wood, a swimmer in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, has delved into the personality quirks of such poseurs, of fakes, to find out what makes them tick. She did so after being caught herself by ‘Joe’, a fake with whom she had fallen in love, who became her long-term boyfriend and ran her ragged emotionally and financially with lies, deception, it seems the entire range of fakery. It seems, as one of life’s ironies, that ‘Joe’ actually gave Stephanie, a journalist, the best story of her career.
With gradual realisation, Stephanie went looking for ‘Joe’, and others like him, to find out why she herself had been duped. It was a quest of self-discovery as much as anything else. She went looking not just for ‘Joe’, but for the ‘Joe’ stereotype. If people could learn to spot them, they would be better able to protect themselves, and she, herself.
Author and swimmer, Stephanie Wood (Image by Nic Walker, source: the publisher)
Not an easy thing to do, since the judgement required to spot fakes is so easily clouded by other emotional factors. Judgement is only as reliable as the heart that supports it.
‘There are so many like him,’ Wood writes. ‘He is, in one form or another, everywhere. I set up a string of Google alerts, and the articles pour into my inbox from around the world’.
Stephanie Wood is a journalist formerly of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine, which helps to explain why Fake – A startling true story of love in a world of liars, cheats, narcissists, fantasists and phonies is such a good read. In her quest, Stephanie dealt with the heartache and the torment partially through her swimming. She's a regular at McIver’s Ladies Baths in Coogee, and more recently she joined Can Too, setting goals through her swimming and raising funds for cancer research. Swimming was her salve.
It also became a metaphor for her quest for ‘Joe’: ‘I am picturing how race day will look as volleys of people rush into the sea at the start, the crush of bodies in the shallows. I imagine it might be easy to stumble and fall, or be knocked to my knees by a wave, so I’m rehearsing in my head what I will do; how, if I fall, I will get up, and if I stumble again, I will get up again, and I will start swimming and diving under waves as they loom, and then surface to swim and swim, because I want to get out there, beyond the break, to the blue-green depths I love’.
Herald investigative reporter Kate McClymont says of Fake, it is ‘a breathtakingly honest and beautifully written account of the emotional wreckage caused by fraudsters of the heart… (she) majestically wields her literary scalpel to dissect and expose a manipulative, narcissistic con man’.
We all know people like 'Joe', and people like 'Archie'.
Can't wait to get in with those whales in Tonga... Click here
We remain unsure whether we'll be able to run our oceanswimsafaris in 2021. But we are optimistic that a Pacific travel bubble will be possible allowing us to travel to New Zealand and the Pacific Island states. We are planning oceanswimsafaris to New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula in March 2021, to French Polynesia in May, to Tonga in July, and to Fiji in either August or October. (We're also hoping for The Philippines, and Sulawesi, in Indonesia, in June, and Europe in late August–September, but it's way too early to be optimistic with those locations.)
What we offer for now is the chance to secure your spot with an Advance Deposit (A$500 per head), which will be fully refunded to you if the oceanswimsafari does not go ahead.
See oceanswimsafaris.com for more info about our ocean swimming holidays
We don't take you just anywhere… Click here
Tonga - We don't take you just anywhere
Swim with the whales
We don't take you just anywhere. Tonga is "not just anywhere". And swimming with humpback whales is something that you can in very few other places around the world. Others now offer tours to Tonga, but be careful: Ours is the only oceanswimsafari that takes groups of ocean swimmers to Tonga in humpback whale season, so offering you the chance both to pursue your passion, and to swim with the gentlest of giants, the humpback whales. In the ocean alongside them, not watching from a boat at a distance. Our week-long oceanswimsafaris include three days out swimming with whales, and two days ocean swimming in some of the most beautiful swim courses you will ever do.
We have been running our oceanswimsafaris to Tonga since 2015. That means we have built up experience with the location—Vava'U, Tonga's northern island group—and its operators that no other ocean swimming tour company can match.
We can take only eight swimmers/towel carriers at a time with us to Tonga. This makes this oceanswimsafari especially suitable for small groups, as well as singles and couples.
At this point, of course, we don't know whether travel to Tonga will be possible on our appointed dates in late July, 2021, but we're hopeful that a Pacific travel bubble will be possible by then. What we offer for now is the chance to secure your spot with an Advance Deposit (A$500 per head), which will be fully refunded to you if the oceanswimsafari does not go ahead.
If you'd like to share in this extraordinary experience, contact us quick and smart… Click here
- Dec 13 - Warriewood (NSW, 2 km)
- Jan 3 - Newport (NSW, 2 km, 800 m, 400 m)
- Jan 3 - Yamba (NSW, 2 km, 700 m)
- Feb 21 - Malabar (NSW, 5 km, 2.5 km, 1 km)
Coming soon - Glenelg (Dec 28), North Bondi (Jan 10), Mona Vale (Jan 24), North Bondi (Feb 14), Umina (NEW SWIM! Mar 14)
Random body surfer hurls herself into her wave, so quickly, so powerfully that the camera can't keep up.
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Don't be an emergency eejit. It's 'strordnry how many punters enter swims online and list themselves as their own emergency contact. Just say something happens to you out in the sea, who are awgies going to contact? You? Get real. Think about it, and enter someone else as your emergency contact, event if it's your boss at work.
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Check our swim maps...
For a quick idea of what's going on around your area -- formal events, informal swim groups -- check our swim maps. You'll find them for each area under Swims/Calendar on oceanswims.com.
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