Triathlon Swimming - Handling big seas in an easterly blow

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View of sea from Hobie towards Kings Beach

Didn’t even want to go try for a sea swim today because of the rough conditions in strong easterly winds, until Alec Riddle challenged us all through email to put on our “big boy pants” with a promise that the beer would taste better afterward!

Couldn’t believe what I saw when I got to the beach. Never ever even liked yachting in a big boat in these conditions (often got sea sick), and now I was about to swim in it! It was therefore with some trepidation that I donned my wetsuit and waded towards those breakers.

These photos really don’t do it justice, as the wind had already dropped considerable by the time they were taken.

Last words of advice from Graham Richards were “don’t try and swim back into it, rather head straight out all the way to Kings beach (about 1.5km). Not exactly encouraging for me as a relative novice amongst seasoned swimmers.

As I made my way out to the end of the pier, there were others around me being continuously beaten back and unable to make any headway. Somehow I was able to porpoise underneath the huge breakers and got to the buoy relatively quickly where I hung on in a wild sea-saw ride waiting for the others to also make it out, but none came.

Eventually decided that if I was going to do this thing at all, I’d had better get going on on my own pretty soon (the main group of about 10 swimmers were already out of sight) before this growing uneasiness sent me back on a screaming chicken run!

Like I said, you need to loose all your marbles to do this Ironman stuff!

So I struck out for Kings Beach careful to head a little deeper so as to avoid the larger waves that were breaking quite far out. Worked hard at settling into a relaxed stroke and rolling for air with the big swells and hissing whitecaps.

And then the magic happened!

Found myself feeling exhilarated whilst moving in tune with the swells and accelerating down the oncoming faces. Stoked!!!

The 6 Pack, Tripod and Kahunas (that name is now even more apt) all seemed to float by in a flash, and soon I spotted the rest of the crazy gang standing and waving on the beach waiting for me to come ashore.

Awesome stuff! I’m hooked!

Hey, and the beer at Barney’s really did taste better tonight!

View of sea from Hobie Beach

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