How “Jago A Life Underwater” Made Me A Better Salesman

Away from the waves to tell a story…

Consider storytelling for a minute.

Now consider GREAT storytelling.

Walt Disney…

In my years as a professional sales executive, the most consistent and successful sales people were nearly always great storytellers.

Those few individuals who could place you “in the picture” with their details, emotions and descriptions of something that had happened to them, however trivial it may have been.

Whether to make a sale, or doing something as random as trying to get to work on time, good storytellers could grab your attention and sell you their idea.

Once, not very long ago…

Storytelling is also universal.

And this to me has never been more apparent than watching an incredible documentary which puts the power of storytelling at the forefront of how we, as humans, have communicated with each other for countless generations.

And how storytelling is relevant, whether it be in modern society, or in a tiny community of sea nomads, in the middle of the Southeast Asian Sea.

This is my review off the documentary: Jago A Life Underwater, and the impact it had by making me a better salesman.

The gold nugget…

I must confess that I was looking for some inspiration. As a writer, “writer’s block” is common malady that you must accept and overcome.

So, I started to look for articles and stories that would take me a bit away from surfing and other water board sports in my blog, which, currently, make up almost 90% of my website.

I looked at magazines, surfed the internet for a couple of hours, but nothing intrigued me. I decided to take a break and went to my Netflix account.

As I went from program to program, and series to series, I began to feel that this was also a waste of time. But then, going over the documentary listings, I found it.

A thin boy, standing above a multicolored brain reef, sun rays making magical lights through crystal clear waters. The title of the documentary immediately intrigued me: Jago A Life Underwater.

It was late so I decided I should set a time to watch this promising piece and give it my full attention. Next day, my wife had the evening shift at her hotel, so this would be the perfect time to watch the documentary without any interruptions.

My review…

Jago A Life Underwater is the life account of Rohani, an 80-year old sea nomad living in the Southeast Asian sea, in a spec of an island located in the Togian Islands, in the Coral Triangle.

Through Rohani’s very particular perspective, we get an intimate glimpse at his life, from his childhood, romping and enjoying life with his island friends, through his adolescent life, preparing to be a sea hunter, on through his adulthood, as a full-fledged sea nomad, arriving at his golden years, a grizzled, old man, with a vast knowledge of the sea.

Throughout the documentary, we have the unique opportunity to observe the importance of storytelling in Bajau culture, and how important this part of their culture is to preserve their traditions through generations.

Rohani is a master storyteller and that alone bestows uppon him a privileged position in the village; however, his first and foremost passion is the sea and that’s where the documentary’s production strength really shines.

The underwater shots are breathtaking.

The Togian Islands live coral reefs, teeming with multi color underwater life, are astounding and literally come to life before you, specially when viewed in 4k.

The crystal clear waters and lush jungles surrounding the islands, at times seen from Rohani’s perspective as he snorkels and sails from coral head to coral head, are beautiful and mesmerizing.

But it is when the production takes to the sky, very possibly through the use of waterproof drones with camera, where the islands’ waters become the main protagonist.

Turquoise blues, crystal clear atolls, myriad-color reef breaks and drop offs, and the list goes on. Jago A Life Underwater is a joy to watch, both underwater and above it.

And through it all, Rohani’s simple, yet powerful account of his trials, from adolescence to manhood, allow the reader an intimate glimpse at a life style nearing extinction.

Places like the Togian Islands remain under real threat of disappearing completely due to global warming and climate change.

This is why it remains relevant to anyone who is advocating for ocean awareness and care for our oceans to give this amazing documentary an opportunity to reflect, enchant, and educate.

Do you have a documentary that has left a lasting footprint in your memory? Did it teach you to become better at a certain activity? Perhaps it inspired you to become a better person or professional, as was my case in sales, after seeing Jago A Life Underwater. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the comment box below. I will be very glad to answer back and share opinions with you. Thanks for reading this article!

 

5 Universal Truths When Pursuing A Diving Career

The Magic Of A Dream…Nevermind The Free Wake Up Call!

I got my PADI Open Water Diver certification in Puerto Vallarta, back in 1995. Sometimes I wonder where my professional life would have led me if I had decided to continue my search for scuba diving career opportunities.

The Magic Of A Dream.

When I arrived in Cancun back in 1998, a literal “Green Horn” to the region, all I wanted to do was spend as much time as I could in the warm, crystal-clear waters of Cancun and the Riviera Maya, which, I confess, still manage to take my breath away.

I settled into my job as an executive sales rep. for an airline catering company. And would stay there for the next 3 years.

Not the best job in the world. Far from it, in fact. But it payed the bills. And, yes, I did learn a lot about how to run a big scale business, with the challenges and drudgery found in your typical 9 to 5 job, plus all the rigors, rules and regulations found in the aviation industry.

I learned a lot throughout these years, but it nearly killed my dream to have a job that would find me 100% involved with the ocean, which I had always wished for. Well, you know that saying “be careful with what you wish for you just might get it”? It came true for me. Allow me to explain…

Time Is The New Money…Then And Now!

Like any resort town around the world, living in Cancun is expensive. Getting in the water, to practice the sports I really enjoyed, like diving and surfing, were luxuries. They remain luxuries even today.

70.00 US for a dive was simply out of my budget, and surfing (whenever there were actual waves, which was not often at all), also carried a hefty price for the board and the sun-chair rental (in a public beach things have a tendency to disappear…you were really paying for security staff to look out for your stuff).

So for sometime, I turned to free diving and snorkeling. Eventually, when my economy got a bit better, I gave windsurfing a try. That turned out great, and amazingly, it was cheaper than diving.

And thus it went on for about two years or so, until I left the airline catering business and decided to try my luck in vacation club ownership, also known as time-share. Cancun is well-known for its many time-share projects. Some are notorious for their high pressure tactics and low integrity. To my fortune, I was accepted in a project where both integrity and honest sales and marketing were the core values of the company. Rare indeed.

And the reason I did this change? Simple: Time.

As a marketing rep. my work hours were a vast improvement from my previous job. I only needed to show to work 3 days out of the week. If you did your job well inviting people to see “the club”, the rest of the week you would work for half of the day and be on your merry way to do whatever with your personal life.

The only catch was that the job was commissioned based. No salary. If you invited families, you got payed. Otherwise, no paycheck.

So, in exchange for the inevitable income roller-coaster ride, I was given more free time than I had ever experienced. And this gave me the opportunity to seriously start looking at SCUBA diver jobs, and the exciting possibility of a new career change.

SCUBA diver jobs and career change

Decisions, Decisions…Time To Get Wet!

As my learning curve in the time-share industry began to level-off, I began to have better income and the time had come to put this income to good use. I decided to re-take my diving education in earnest. My free time was dedicated to learning the intricacies, techniques and rigors that would eventually lead to reaching the title of PADI Open Water Rescue Diver.

This was a decisive moment where my next decision would take me into professional dive training and all the responsibilities that came with it. Amateur time was over: Dive Master training was the next step and I took it without hesitation.

A few months later, I had my PADI Dive Master credential. I could now begin my next objective: Dive Instructor.

And just like airline pilots, the way to progress and become a skilled and confident Dive Master was to start accumulating dive time. I began to look for marinas where they needed help to take people out to dive. And this is where my journey got really interesting.

I encountered the 5 truths a beginner Dive Master must face (and accept) in order to choose diving as a full time career. Mind you, this is what I experienced in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. But I think these truths are pretty much universal.

Truth No. 1 – No one is interested in offering you dive time.

As mentioned before, to become a confident, experienced Dive Master, you require dive time. Hours spent underwater, honing the very skills which will allow you to aspire for higher level dive practice, instruction (and better pay). In case of a Dive Master wanting to reach Assistant Dive Instructor, a minimum of 60 hours of actual diving are required.

That’s a lot of diving, considering that each dive takes approximately 45 minutes.

Having connections with your local marina was essential. In my case, I was able to get in the door to one of the largest marinas in Cancun, with help of my dive instructor. It was a great opportunity and it would’ve been a phenomenal place to acquire the necessary skills due to the amount of people the marina took out diving every day.

However, the staff really had an attitude problem within their ranks, and they would make lame excuses to avoid having me on-board, even when all I wanted to do was help out…pro-bono. So it didn’t last long and I left.

I found myself once again knocking on doors of other marinas to offer my assistance. It took a while, but I settled in a smaller marina where I was given the chance to help out, again, pro-bono. See where I’m getting at?

Truth No. 2 – There is no pay for beginner Dive Masters.

Ugly truth, but there it is. Your pay is getting wet and accumulating dive hours. That’s it. This can be somewhat tolerable if you have a part-time job to fall back on. But I met a few dive masters who were there with no financial back up of any kind. Real brave (and real crazy). They lived off the tips tourists left to the boat crew. Many didn’t last long and ended up waiting tables or as sales reps for time-share projects in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Truth No. 3 – Get ready for stubbed toes and bruises.

Not underwater. But above it. On the dive boat.

As a beginner Dive Master, you will normally be put in charge of dive tanks, vests (also called BCDs) and fins.

Consider an average group consisting of 12 beginner divers, the boat crew, the dive instructor and you. In a relatively small dive boat. It gets cramped. Real fast.

Sometimes, dive gear becomes loose. More often than not, the ocean does not cooperate. It can get really choppy. Tanks are pretty heavy. Accidents inevitably happen.

You deal with it and move on. Remember, the customers’ have payed good money for you to take them diving. They expect a great time. So you have to bite your lip, smile and keep going.

Truth No. 4 – Motion sickness and diesel fumes. Learn to cope.

If you are sensitive to motion sickness, diving can be a challenge. But when diesel fumes are added to the mix, you have a sure recipe for disaster. And the thing is, it is inevitable.

All marine engines run on diesel. When they idle, whether waiting at the dock for everyone to climb aboard, or looking for a dive spot, the fumes cover the boat, the crew and divers. It is a very intense, pervasive odor. The experience is intensified by the inevitable motion found in open waters.

The fastest way to solve this is to get everybody in the water, as fast as possible, before anyone spills their lunch all over you, or all over the deck area. Even then, you are not guaranteed that motion sickness will go away.

One time, a beginner diver, a lady, threw up while being already in the water. It was rough and waves were making everyone sick on board. She was the first one out in the water, but the up and down motion got her really sick. She emptied out her lunch right there and then. Needless to say, she felt better afterwards and the fish had dinner that evening.

Truth No. 5 – Diving becomes a job.

Above all, you are there to guarantee the customers’ safety and enjoyment.

Regardless how clumsy, heavy or nervous they are, you are the professional. The responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders. Even if you’re just a beginner Dive Master. They don’t know that. They don’t care.

There is much psychology applied on board dive boats. You are there to still their fears and anxiety. And even then, it’s not a sure thing how the beginner diver will react once exposed to open water diving. Sometimes they do an excellent job; most times they don’t.

And you get so busy trying to keep the group together, you barely have time to enjoy the dive itself.

The enjoyment now stems from handling group dynamics. This is the real challenge. This is where you really find out whether you have what it takes to become a professional Master SCUBA Diver…or not.

Diving becomes a job. The enjoyment part of it is, in great part, exclusively for the customer. You are there to make sure they get their money’s worth. Your enjoyment becomes an afterthought.

A special kind of mettle…

Now, these truths, although quite real in my experience, may not be powerful enough detractors for those willing to look for a career in recreational diving. And that’s awesome. This article is meant merely as a “heads-up”; a glance at some of the real life aspects of this somewhat misunderstood and often times glamorized activity.

Being a Dive Master carries a lot of responsibility. After all, taking care of people above the water is complicated enough. Taking care of people below the water…well…that takes a special kind of mettle. That’s why I always look up to the men and women who do this activity for a living.

And that’s also why I always leave them a nice, hefty tip!

Are you interested in pursuing a career in recreational diving? Perhaps you are already an established Dive Master and have met with some of these challenges. Please tell us about them and share your experiences and trials in the comment box below. I will certainly do my best to offer feedback on your opinions. Thanks for reading!

 

Surfing Waves: Mutants Unmasked

What doesn’t kill you…

Riding waves, whether it be standing, knee, or prone, carries an inherent amount of risk and injury to those who practice extreme ocean sports on a regular basis.  Knowing and facing these risks remains an essential part of the extreme ocean sport experience. What doesn’t kill you  will only make you stronger. And this is very much the case for watermen around the world, surfing waves at their local beach break, perhaps no taller than their waist, or those that take the sport to the very extreme, riding giants and mutants around the world. It is this last type of wave I wish to address in this post.

But first, a “pinch” of Oceanography…

Below are surfing waves which I have categorized, from lowest to highest intensity and danger. It’s important to note that the wave’s power and energy is determined, in large measure, by its swell period. The longer the swell period, the more energy the wave will receive via wind transfer. There are two types of swells: Long period swells are affected by the ocean floor’s bathymetry; they are also called ground swells. Short period swells are usually created by local winds and travel much shorter distances than long period swells: less distance traveled means less accomulated energy.

Wind Waves – Waist high or lower.

Waist High Waves – Longer swell period intervals are aprox. 3-6 seconds.

Head High Waves – Swell event originates from ocean storms. Swell period intervals are aprox. 6-10 seconds.

 

Ok, so now we get into the heavy weights…

These waves are sought out by some of the best surfing pros and experienced, amateur surfers out there. The energy they pack is tremendous since they originate deep in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, traveling for thousands of miles before discharging all their energy on surf breaks around the world.

Swell period interval: 12+ seconds.
Surfing waves of this size and power demmand a healthy amount of respect even from the most seasoned surfers.
Swell period interval: 18+ seconds.
Into the rabbit hole…

Incredibly, wave categories do continue after this point. We enter the realm of the bizarre. Surf breaks on steroids; mutants and ocean abnormalities which have gained notoriety as being some of the heaviest waves in the planet. These waves are best seen and appreciated in full motion. Witness below all their strange, mind-bending beauty. Though I only mention three here, like exotic singularities,  many more remain to be discovered. Enjoy the videos!

Teahupoo.

In Tahitian, it means “The End of The Road”. In 2000, legendary big wave charger, Laird Hamilton, surfed the “Millenium Wave”, considered to be the heaviest wave of all time. Huge accomplishment considering that Teahupoo’s bottom is mostly made up of very sharp reef. This session set the standard for future big wave riders.

Shipsterns Bluff (Tazmania).

Also known as “Devil’s Point” or “Shippies”. This is Teahupoo’s weird, twisted cousin. You be the judge:

And finally, the strange aussie kid from next door, known simply as “The Right”. Upredictable and dangerous…

Is there anything beyond the bizarre?

Well, consider this: 71% of our world is covered by water. The Atlantic Ocean is huge, and even grander in scale is the Pacific Ocean. Somewhere out there, abnormalities are being engendered…nature’s way of showing us her twisted sense of humor. These places must exist. And they are there for  the taking, but only by the boldest and the bravest…the pioneering. Beyond this…yes: Cortez Bank, Nazare, Ghost Trees…and beyond that…who knows.

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Water proof drones with camera…part of your open water gear?

Eye In The Sky taken to the next level…

Seeing this video, one would be hard-pressed not to rush to the nearest hobby store and buy one of these little technological wonders. With features like auto follow and most recently, obstacle avoidance sensors, waterproof drones with camera are here to stay. They can help create beautiful, breath taking footage…enjoy the video by aerial master cinematographer, Eric Sterman, and I will see you below to share a couple of thoughts about these incredible machines…

So…should you invest on an extreme sports drone?

That really depends on what you are going to be using it for. At an average price of 1,200 US, drones do not come cheap. There is also a pretty steep learning curve to consider for safe, responsible practice and in many cases operator certification is required. Mostly though, if you are interested in the cinematic possibilities that this kind of product can offer, then having a drone as part of your cache should be a serious consideration.

OK, so maybe you’ll get one but before you do, also take a reality check and consider the following…

Let’s concentrate on the environment you will be exposing your drone for a moment. The ocean. As we all have come to experience in one way or another, salt water can be very challenging to deal with, even under the best of circumstances. At it’s worst, the corrosion and destruction it can create on equipment, gear, and certain materials is unquestionable. Same thing applies on delicate equipment parts found in drones, even those with specialized waterproof casings. Salt spray can have adverse effects on ball bearings when filming large waves. Also, just like any other electronic and mechanical device, servicing your drone regularly is also a must. Care should be taken of the motors since they tend to weaken after a while. Drones, even the more affordable ones, should be serviced at least once every 2-3 months.

And then there’s battery life to consider as well. The batteries that your future drone will use are standard Lithium polymer batteries, which are supposedly maintenance free. Not so. These also require some form of maintenance. By fully charging the battery to a hundred percent and flying the drone until the battery wears out you will be guaranteeing proper discharge of battery life. Do a full charge and discharge at least 5 times. This will enhance the battery’s performance by at least 90%.

RC transmitters v.s. drone apps

All drones include some form of RC transmitter. Not only do they provide control of your drone. They do this at a much greater distance than a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. They are pretty straightforward, offering directional controls only. However, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections have made it possible to fly drones directly from mobile devices like your smart phone or your tablet.

They (the manufacturers) have come up with apps that provide first person video controls, programmable flight routes, and advanced positioning. There are even some drones that have hybrid functions, allowing for both RC controls and mobile applications to be integrated in your smart phone or tablet, showing your drone’s GPS positioning, speed, height, and battery life. Pretty cool!

Camera-less or camera installed?

The great majority of waterproof drones come without a camera. It is just an industry fact. Many users have even come to think that there exists a conspiration between drone manufacturers and extreme photography companies, whereby drone enthusiasts have no other choice but to purchase these cameras to install to their drones. And even though this may not be entirely true, the fact is that manufacturers have caught on to the buyer’s dissatisfaction and come up with drones with a camera systems already installed, as is the case of Ehang Ghostdrone 2.0.

Also, check this article from dronelife.com for further details on which drone may be best suited for your extreme photography needs.

In conclusion…

Drones are here to stay. They offer unique exciting views of many of the activities we have so come to love and enjoy. Whether it is surfing in Hawaii, skiing in the Rockies, skateboarding in L.A., or even clashing clubs at a fancy Polo match, drones offer dramatic, unprecedented aerial views of the sports we love most. Taking these views to open water, as we have enjoyed in the above video, is just one of many ways drones have taken us to places and views we could only dream of before. Adding one of these gadgets to our open water inventory could be a stretch for many of us, but where it could lead us is incredibly exciting and only limited by our creativity and imagination.

Do you think owning and flying a drone is something that would add to your extreme ocean sports experience? Please share your thoughts below. I will reply to your comments shortly. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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Bouyancy Aids & Life Jackets: Similar But Not The Same

Consider climate change for a moment…

Our planet’s surface is covered by 71% of water. It would seem only natural that coastal cities and communities around the world would be more aware and in-tune with the unpredictability of our world’s oceans. Climate change has made things even more challenging and, eventhough some world leaders down-play the seriousness of climate change and global warming, even claiming that it does not exist, that it is a fabrication of the media to distract from other more pressing matters like the building of walls or the continuation of coal mine exploitation all over the world, this “lie”, this so called “distraction”, is well uppon us; just ask any local living in island nations like Mauritius, The Seychelles or Fiji. I am quite sure they would be the first to raise their hand aknowledging that climate change is finally, undeniably, here.

In fact, acccording to studies done by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (IGSS), May 2017 has been the second warmest May in the last 137 years!

Now consider heat and water…

Heat is responsible for creating tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. The warmer the water, the more intense the storm.

A natural occurrence…be prepared!

I live in a region where hurricanes are part of a natural, if often unwelcome, cycle. Unfortunately, climate change and global warming have had an adverse effect, creating bigger, more intense storms, also impacting on how frequently we have to deal with these weather phenomena. Getting hit by a hurricane (atlantic) or a typhoon (pacific) is something no one should have to go through. However, if faced with a rapid increase in water levels, PFDs (personal floating devices) such as throwable bouyancy aids (lifeguard rescue tubes, rescue line bags and life rings) can be extremely useful to keep you afloat while help arrives. They are designed to keep someone afloat, allowing the wearer full movement while being exposed to open water conditions.

 

 

However, if unconcious, the wearer’s head  could be face down in the water. This why life jackets, above any other PFD or bouyancy aid, are the preferred item for boat skippers around the world. Another interesting fact about bouyancy is that adults need just an extra 7 to 12  pounds of bouyancy to stay affloat. Also, life jacket bouyancy is divided into levels of floatability:

Level 50:

Intended for competent swimmers and who are not near shore or have help or rescue close at hand.

Level 100:

Intended for those who have to wait for rescue but in sheltered water. Not to be used in rough water conditions.

Level 150:

For general off shore and rough water use  where high standard of performance is required. Turns unconcious person into safe position without needing user to involve any further action to maintain position.

Level 275:

Intended for off shore use and by people carrying additional weight; also of value for those wearing clothing which traps air and which may adversely affect self-righting capacity of the life vest. This jacket is designed to ensure the user  is floating in the correct position with their mouth and nose clear of the surface of the water.

Life jackets are meant to be worn while sailing, using PWC (personal water craft a.k.a. waverunners), windsurfers, canoes, water skiing and any other similar extreme water sport activity. Also on open boats, small powered boats, or going on ashore on boat tender, as well as in yachts and motor cruisers. PFDs are divided into five types:

Whatever your favorite open water activity, PFDs are an essential part of any responsible waterman’s inventory. New materials and designs have made them much more comfortable to wear, without sacrificing their ultimate goal which is to save lives.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful. Please leave a comment below with any thoughts. I will be happy to read them and repply shortly. Thanks again!

Where Do Waves Get Their Energy?

Coming Face To Face With The Monster

Where do waves get their energy?

I remember the first time I felt the raw power of the ocean. I´m going to pause here a bit, not so much for effect, but rather, for anyone reading this (thank you!), to stop and consider these words: “raw power”. Unbridled, oceanic wave energy, traveling for thousands of miles across the largest body of water in the planet, most certainly born from some monster storm somewhere in the Pacific, and releasing all that energy in one very violent, ground shaking moment. That was my first experience. I came face to face with that power in Puerto Escondido, Mexico.

Surfers around the world call it the Mexican Pipeline, in honor of its Hawaiian cousin, the Banzai Pipeline, located in Oahu’s North Shore. Maybe
it should’ve been the other way around since the bathymetry that makes the bay of Puerto Escondido has been there much longer than the Hawaiian islands. Wait, go back, bathywhatsee? Bathymetry. Abnormalities in the contours of the ocean floor. It is also the measurement of the depths of oceans, seas, or other large bodies of water and it is key in understanding where waves get their energy and how they release this energy all over the world’s coastlines. Puerto Escondido has a unique bathymetry in that a shallow area exists about 20 nautical miles straight out from the bay.

This shallow shelf area is bordered on its left and right sides by a deep canyon. This allows for much of the wave energy coming from remote south pacific storms to funnel in and arrive at the Oaxacan coastline with fierce, raw energy. The Mexican Pipeline happens to be a natural magnet for these oceanic bombers.

The TWO T’s And The Big H

Over 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water. Tropical storms, tropical cyclones and hurricanes are the wave factories of the world’s oceans. Cyclones deep in the south pacific and the Atlantic churn and engender massive swell events that can travel for thousands of miles from their place of birth. Hurricanes and tropical storms are a bit more “fickle”, normally carrying less energy. Their wave interval from peak to peak is less than deep ocean super storms. Also, hurricanes and tropical storms form and originate in waters located relatively near coastlines, except for open Atlantic hurricanes and super storms in the pacific called typhoons. Regardless what they are called, all are responsible for giving life to waves around the planet. To make things even more interesting, the ocean is subject to the impact of wind, tides, and ocean currents, making it an energy dynamo of colossal proportions.

So… Only Adverse Weather Energizes Waves?

Not quite. And for the world’s coastline populations, this is very fortunate. Eventhough waves are indeed born from some of these natural phenomena, in general, waves owe their energy to wind. Waves are classified by the energy source that created them. In most cases, the waves that you normally see crashing on the beach are called surface waves. They are formed by wind blowing through the ocean’s surface. Without any obstacles that could interrupt their trajectory, winds create disturbances which steadily build and increase the wave crest’s height.

And then there are those waves created by natural events, born from the type storms mentioned above. These often create large and very dangerous waves. Two of the most studied wave phenomena are storm surges and tsunamis, both which we will go into in greater detail in another post.

Hope you find this post useful and interesting. Please feel free to leave your comments below.

 

 

 

Five “Must-Do’s” for safe, responsible open water swimming

Swimming is considered one of the most complete forms of exercise in the world. It tones and fortifies your entire body without stressing the joints, commonly found in high impact activities like running, tennis, and basketball. It can also be a very relaxing, meditative experience. After a few weeks in the pool, you notice that you are no longer the stressed out land creature that you were two weeks ago. You are starting to coordinate your body better. Your movements are less clumsy, your strokes and all around proficiency improving with every kick. You are on your way!

Fast forward and now you are standing on a sandy beach, looking out into the horizon, carefully assesing the ocean’s conditions: currents, wave intervals, backwash, riptides, etc.

Open Water Swimming

It is three months since your first lap around the pool. A covered, heated pool. Your swim coach, standing next to you now, recalls the challenge, given to you nearly three months ago: to complete your first open water swim. And you accepted gladly, knowing that growth comes from pushing yourself and leaving your comfort zone behind. And so here you are. But before taking on the ocean, you are reminded of 5 “must-dos” for safe, responsible open water swimming:

1. Get to know where you are swimming. Check conditions thoroughly.

This is a no brainer. Check the signs at the beach. They are there for a reason: to guarantee your safety. Also, take at least 20 minutes to check conditions, as already mentioned above.

2. Make sure you are properly equiped with the right open water swimming gear.

3. Beware of the cold. Hypothermia is a bitch!

4. Make sure someone knows where you are and that you have means to call for help, especially in remote locations.

 

5. Take note of local safety advice and ALWAYS respect the landowners and other users.

 

 

You look at your coach one more time, taking a deep breath and exhaling. He smiles and ecourages you. The marker, a red bouy floating 300 yards out, is the half-way marker. 600 yards in total. You put on your swim cap and goggles and plunge into the surf. You are ready…you got this!

If you liked this article, please leave your thoughts below. I read all comments and will gladly take the time to reply. Thanks for reading!