Sunday, December 6, 2009

Swell day, mozaic of currents from Bondi to Bronte...

Almost perfect day to swim from Bondi to Bronte... a bit of swell at the start, easy but lively water, a brisk current running off Mackenzies Point, whisking us into Bronte, a very high tide to provide a cushion under those swells at the finish, the Bronte Express running apace, making the negotiation between the currents and the reef a mind game -- we've never seen so little sand at Bronte: there was reef all the way across the beach from the official reef at the southern end. And the famous Bronte shorebreak crashing onto the sand.
All of which made the funnel into the beach from out the back a narrow one, indeed. Stimulating from start to finish.

Around Mackenzies Point, a bloke mug chases a laydee.

Bronte is one of the most dangerous beaches in Sydney, particularly so when you're coming in from behind a break that you haven't seen. Even on days of small swell, this is beach is a maze of currents and shifting sandbanks. When the swell gets up, as it did on swim day -- cushioned by a 1.9 metre tide - it can be a nightmare. It often looked benign as the peloton threaded through the currents and amongst the reefs to shore. But every now and again, a set came through. And, if you were out there amongst it, you got a better feel for how big they were and how much power they carried. There could have been a disaster at Bronte, but the Bronte water safety people were very attentive and professional at watching the mob, picking the ones who needed help, and shepherding the crowd onto the beach. They did a very good job.

A lovely, lovely day. But a crowded imbroglio on the promenade at the finish. There's little enough space up there on the best of days without all those commercial interests thrusting themselves into your face.
Excellent gear management, again. They do a good job, here, too of collecting your gear at Bondi, loading them into a truck and the Waverley Council happy bus, and unloading them in Bronte Park in neat lines, allowing the arrivistes to mooch along, between the lines, across and aback the park, picking out which bags you'd like, preferably your own.


  1. another great bondi to bronte race - shame about the need to have to line up for 30mins plus for the crocs - which were all those flouro ones you wouldnt buy!
    anyway - great day well done

  2. 4th Bondi to Bronte. Probably the best all round swim of the four.... enough swell to make it interesting but still reasonably smoothish conditions. Well thought out course design, particularly coming into the beach at Bronte.

    What was the official distance?



  3. great day - fun conditions - thanks to all the volunteer guys and girls and support that goes into making the day what it is

    one thing to think about - the final can turning was chaos - too many people and too little space - appreciate the swell limited the space allowed for swimmers to navigate - so perhaps more time between waves at the beginning - would have meant less people converging at once on the final can - particularly when the swim was at max capacity

    will be back next year for sure - but please lets make my last 200m of the swim enjoyable not a mangled scrum

  4. A great swim, my fastest ever Bondi to Bronte - more to do with the favourable currents than my training regime I think. Despite my fastish time I reckon it was at least the 2.4km advertised - the final can was almost in the cemetery. I'm not sure my approach of swimming back up the other end of the beach after the last can and out of the water in front of the surf club was particularly successful, but at least it saved the punters on the beach the indignity of watching me run for 100m on the sand!

    I was a bit concerned at the start when they said that there were 400 people in my wave, but it turned out to be reasonably civilised and I arrived unscathed at the first buoy. The 10 minute gap between waves certainly helped.

    And yes, I persevered with the annoyingly dysfunctional queue/scram at the Crocs stand, and am now the proud owner of a bright orange pair of clogs. I just hope people don't think I actually bought them when I wear them out and about!

  5. I would like to thank the wave that picked me up, carried me all the way in and spat me out on the sand for making the end of the swim not as daunting as it looked from the last buoy.

    As an ocean swimming first timer, the increase in the swell coming round from Tamarama made me a little nervous about the end of the race, but I was lucky enough to find my training buddy, Bronte legend Geoff Doble, popping his head up to negotiate the ending at the same time. We swam in together and caught the wave together and while I acknowledged the adoring crowd and kissed the sand, Geoff put the turbo on, sprinting to the finish line to ensure he beat me. That's ocean swimming experience I guess - knowing that you're not across the line simply because your feet have hit the sand. Til next year Doble...

  6. This was a very enjoyable swim. Beautiful conditions including that wonderful rolling swell that coasted me into Bronte. I will be back for more next year.

    Next point: I do have an etiquette gripe which applies not only to this swim but my most recent past and all of my future swims - I understand that you swim looking at the bottom but I pretty sure that everyone is vaguely aware of whats around them, so when you decide to change course suddenly or stop for that matter, can you make sure its not over the top of the person next to you or in front of someone. Its a big ocean so spare a thought for the wonderful ocean swimmers around you.

  7. So that was ocean swim no.3 - great weather, perfect water temperature, g/f won her age division again, and they're right, it really does give a feeling of achievement to leave one beach and arrive on another, even if you have to vomit a bit of seawater when you get there.

    Two issues though:

    Firstly, using the same colour caps for the 40-44 and 45-49 waves is a really bad idea, even if you write '45+' on the arms of those who should be in the later wave. I saw a guy with that marker leave with the 40-44s, and from what I heard after the race he wasn't the only one. Whether these people were making an honest mistake or were simply flat-out cheating, they cut several minutes off their recorded times which messes up the 45-49 results.

    The second issue was the placement of the final buoy at Bronte. It was too far south, with the result that water safety had to shepherd people close to it to keep them off the southern rocks, thus causing a jam-up. It also meant that when my bunch rounded, we found ourselves in the middle of the southern rip (probably bad timing to coincide with a big set), and the crowded conditions meant that it was difficult to escape north and get a good run in.

    Someone at the club must have realised the problem because the turning mark for the dash for cash was moved to the middle of the beach, directly in front of the finishing arch, which is where it should have been to start with.

    Other than those two points though, it was a great day and we'll be back next year. If the conditions are big again though, I think I might take the time to sit up before the final buoy and plan my way in.

  8. Great fun - talk about perfect conditions! Clean warm blue water, perfect sunshine. It didn't feel as a far as last year. Think there was a fair current helping us along.

    Thanks to the lifeguard who nudged me in the right direction when I started heading off for Fiji whilst off Mac's point.

    Sorry I missed out on the Crocs - I didn't have time to hang aroudn and wait in line.

  9. Oh so that's what the number 45 the arm was, I wondered why it was different to the race number. I may also know someone with a blue cap who started with the wrong wave of blue caps. Imagine his surprise when he was out at sea warming up in his blue cap and noticed the tribe of blue-caps already lining up at the start. I wouldn't call him a flat-out cheat, although he has been known to shave a couple seconds on squad target swims with an early push-off. Favourable currents indeed!

  10. What wonderful visibility eh? The bottom was clear well out from McKenzie's headland.

    "Shakers" Macartney can report a shivers-free event because..... no, I didn't get tougher and no, not because I ate two more Weetbix. It's because I've acquired some FAT! Some beautiful, wobbly, warming PORK! Thanks be to the fatty bits off the roast lamb and the beeeeautiful creamy pasta sources and of course those luscious cream buns. But, my dear fellow fatsos, make no mistake about it. If the fat disappears, the wetsuit is straight out of the cupboard!

  11. My first B2B and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. No complaints. For a massive event I felt everything was handled extremely well.

    In support of the crocs tent, I noticed they were constantly turning people away who didnt enter online within the first 800 or whatever it was. They cant be blamed for this as it was clearly advertised that way. Maybe its incentive to train harder and swim faster to beat the queue - if indeed you would accept free crocs as any sort of incentive :)

    And for the guy who had a whinge when i kicked him in the face and broke his goggles, I would not hesitate to do it again if you were to pull my ankle for a third time.

  12. How far was this swim. I think it can only be about 1.9 kms


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