Any time, any place is just right for the ocean swimmers' salute. In this case, it's bobbing ararnd in the Celebes Sea off northern Sulawesi.
Swims this weekend...
- Saturday, November 19 – Bondi, Penrith (NSW), Mt Maunganui (NZ), Cocos Islands (way out there in the Indian Ocean)
- Sunday, November 20 - Balmain (Dawny) (e), Cronulla (e) (NSW), Champion Lakes (WA)
The never-ending controversy
Collaroy last Sundee saw something unusual: the starter sent the codgers off first.
"It was terrific," said retired Herald compositor Norm McIntyre. "I had clear water all the way around."
"Why can't the other swims do this?"
Norm's clear water might have been as much to do with the five-minute gaps between waves as with the wave order.
But he was not joined by all in their enthusiasm.
Voracious Can-Tooer Anna Lewis, designer of the groovy Can-Too cossies (as distinct from the official cossies), reported afterwards that she'd been run over.
"My swim in the 800m was marred by an incredibly rough group of '40-something' blokes," said Anna later, in an 'ave a chat contribution that you can see at the bottom of our report page.
"I'm pretty used to swimming in a pack and am not fussed when I get the occasional bump and scratch, but rarely have I swum in a race and been hit and thumped so hard as Collaroy on Sunday.
"On two occasions, I was hit on the head so hard that my goggles came off, and at one point the bloke swimming beside me said, 'Oh, I didn't see you there. I was in my own world'.
"Please, please," pleaded Anna, "is it possible to send off the blokes a couple of minutes before the ladies or vice versa?"
The pristinity of dawn, Sulawesi.
You will never get universal agreement on the ideal starting order in an ocean swim. Some punters want youngies and fasties first; others, like Norm, appreciated the chance to swim with others, instead of being stranded at the back of the pack with other hackers like himself. Some want laydees separated from boofheads, but others have told us the toughest wave they've ever swum in was laydees-only.
About the only thing on which you get some semblance of universal agreement is the practice of some swims - we can think of Lorne and Byron Bay – who send off the rank-and-file, then hold back at the end before sending starting the "Ayleet", as Malcolm Turnbull calls them. At both those events, mug punters can get their fumbling and thrashing over with and generally be on the beach to see those come through who actually know what they're doing.
We'll never forget the sight at Byron a few years back of a tubby, cherubic 50+ boofhead, waddling and wobbling over the corrugations in the break, hearing the crowd roar and turning to see Ky Hurst hurtling out of the break behind him. He broke into a trot, desperate, no doubt, to get bragging rights at the pub afterwards if he could beat Ky over the line.
There is something special about ocean swimming, that eejits like us can swim alongside the best in the world. It was wonderful that that bloke had the opportunity to race Ky to the line. That doesn't happen in every sport indeed, in most sports.
That said, it's novel and special that we can be on the beach to watch the good swimmers do it.
But it doesn't resolve the problem of starting orders.
Along the Big Bay in Tonga.
A few months back, we published a suggestion from a laydee punter who, as we recall, preferred to remain incognito. It was that start waves should be based on speed, with entrants nominating a time when they enter with waves organised to group swimmers of comparable times together. That way, swimmers of comparable speed could swim together without testosterone-fuelled swim Nazis riding over the top of them, and without being kicked in the face by breaststrokers blocking the course in front of them.
There could be something in it, although we couldn't imagine much worse than swimming in a peloton where no-one could get away from anyone else.
But what do you reckon? Send us your thoughts and we'll publish them... Click here
Ocean swims calendar 2017
The calendar includes every swim date we can find in Strãa, New Zealand and the Sarth Pacific, and a few more besides that we deem worthwhile. Pin it on your notice board at work, behind the door in the loo, on the wall in the kitchen, in your home office, your men's shed out the back, your sewing and knitting room, the wall in your hallway, so that you can check swim dates each time you leave home or return. Stick it on your garage door to remind you where you're going when you get in the car. Or get multiples and mount one in each of those places, so that you're constantly surrounded by images of ocean swimming. Or Dave's perceptions of them, anyway.
Your friends would like them for Xmas, too. They would love you even more if you gave them an ocean swims calendar from Glistening Dave.
Order yours now for Xmas (delivery in December)... Click here
Selenes go mirrored
A special for Xmas
We’re celebrating. Mrs Sparkle’s fave goggle, the View Selene, has been reinvented with mirrored lenses. They’re very groovy and offer an extra mirror protection from the sun’s glare.
The Selene is the most comfortable gog you will ever wear, and the best all-round gog we’ve ever come across, and we’ve worn a few gogs in our time: it’s made with a soft, wide, silicone seal that doesn’t leave rocky-raccoon marks around your eyes, and it offers a wide field of view and a low profile.
Designed originally for laydees, we probably sell more to blokes these days. We’ve long loved the View Fully Sicks, which also offer a mirrored lens, and now the same look and glare protection is available in the Selenes.
They come in three colour combinations – Pearl Black/Blue, Aquamarine Ice Blue/Yellow (with a glitter frame), and Lavender/Pink.
How are we celebrating? It’s our 2016 Xmas Special: order a pair of View Selene Mirrored gogs and get a pair of Selene non-mirrored gogs for $9 off: that’s almost 30 per cent off the non-mirrored pair. Total $63 + p/h.
Order yours now... Click here
Re-Cap at swims this season
Cap Amnesty at Dawny
At a rough estimate, around 20,000 swimming caps are handed out at NSW ocean swims each summer. Some may be reused, but the overwhelming majority are used only once, kept in the bottom of a swimming bag for the summer, then thrown out. This seems like a needless waste, as well as creating unnecessary landfill.
Accordingly, Re-cap aims to find sources for reusing and repurposing swimming caps, and will be collecting over summer at Sydney ocean swims. The first beneficiary is Swim Viet Nam, a charity based in Central Viet Nam which provides free swimming and water safety lessons to children and trains local adults as swimming teachers.
We're talking to some other charities and beneficiaries at the moment, and in the past have given to artists and local pools, so stay tuned!
If you would like to receive some caps, or if you have a whole stack that you would like to give away, get in touch!
Re-Cap collected at Collaroy last Sunday, and will be at Dawny this coming Sunday. At Collaroy, Re-Cap collected 136 caps of 329 handed out at registration. Most responsive age group was the 50+ with 44 per cent of distributed caps returned, proving that some Baby Boomers do care.
Look for the bins on the boardwalk at Dawny on Sunday.
There is currently no way to recycle caps (that I know of) hence the focus on reuse and repurpose. However, maybe it is not too far away - wetsuit recycling is now available in various places (http://ripcurlplanet.com/rip-curl-rubber-the-environment.html), and you can recycle all sorts of plastics and rubber if you are willing to make the effort - there's a gap in the market for an entrepreneurial ocean swimmer...
Joined by a cobber in Sulawesi.
We've posted package details for two of our oceanswimsafaris in 2017 on our sibling site, oceanswimsafaris.com. You can find details for both Sulawesi (June 11-19) and for Tonga (three oceanswimsafaris between July 25 and August 16). We have a few spots still available on our Sulawesi tour, and three spots available on Tonga. We've been inundated with interest for both oceanswimsafaris.com.
Dates of our oceanswimsafaris in 2017 –
- Vanuatu - Port Vila (May 24-29)
- Vanuatu - Santo (May 31-June 5 Dates TBC)
- Sulawesi (Indonesia, June 11-19) - 4 spots left
- Yasawas Fiji - Swim with Manta rays (July 16-23) (New oceanswimsafari!)
- Tonga - Swim with Whales 1 (July 25-Aug 2) - 2 spots left
- Tonga - Swim with Whales 2 (Aug 1-9) - 1 spot left
- Tonga - Swim with Whales 3 (Aug 8-16) - Sold out!
- San Sebastián (Spain, Aug 23-29)
- Costa Brava (Spain, Aug 31-Sep 8)
- Greece's Northern Sporades (Sep 12-21 TBC)
- Yasawas Fiji (Oct 16-23)
- Mana Fiji (Oct 24-29)
- Heron Island (Nov 4-8)
Tell us about your swim group
The vast bulk of ocean swimming takes place not in formal races on the weekend. It happens in the myriad informal swim groups that meet on beaches, at pools, in lakes, rivers, dams, ponds and billabongs all around Strãa, New Zealand and the South Pacific, every day. Locals know their groups, but what if you're travelling? You're in an unfamiliar place, you'd like a swim, but where? With whom?
oceanswims.com aims to offer the most comprehensive list of informal swim groups and locations in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Wherever you are, you should never be without a suggestion of where to swim and with whom. We've received already submissions from swim groups from as far afield as Scotland and Hong Kong. We expect to have the first online in the next week or so.
oceanswims.com lists swim groups free of charge. Just complete the short form we've posted on our website and click the Submit button. You'll get a copy of your info straightbackatcha, and we'll slot it into our listings. Look under Swims on oceanswims.com, or... Click here
Hi-de-hi from an ocean swimmer at Collaroy last Sundee.. For our report... Click here
Get swim ready at Newport
A message from the awgies of the Newport Pool to Peak Swim...
Newport Surf Club will be conducting an ocean swim training session at Newport Beach on Saturday 26 November 2016 from 7.30am in association with our Pool to Peak Ocean Swims which as you know will be on Sunday 8 January 2017.
The ocean swim training session is intended for swimmers who are thinking of trying ocean swimming for the first time as well as those who would like to pick up a few tips.
We will be covering:
- Training for an ocean swim
- Preparation for the day of the swim
- Observing surf conditions before you swim
- How to get out through the break (Practical if conditions allow)
- Finishing a swim.
We will be emphasising the fun aspect as well as safety.
More info, contact John Guthrie... Click here
Swims open to online entry...
We have entries online open to a string of new season swims...
- November 20 – Balmain (Dawny), Cronulla
- November 26 – Toowoon Bay
- November 27 - Coogee
- December 3 - North Curl Curl
- December 10 – Nobbys-Newcastle, Coogee-Bondi
- December 11 - Bilgola
- December 18 - Queenscliff, Wollongong
- December 28 - Glenelg
- January 8 - Newport, North Bondi, Gerringong
- January 15 - Avalon
- January 29 - Palm-Whale
- January 22 - Mona Vale
- February 5 - South Maroubra
- February 12 - North Bondi
- February 19 - Malabar
- March 5 - Freshwater
- April 9 - Coogee, Forster
Coming soon... Plenty.
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