Saturday, April 17, 2010

More chock-a-bloc April swims...

It's Sat'dee, but already it's started... Glorious swim at South Curly to Freshie this am, we're told. A wonderful speech by Luane Rowe, 1st laydee, challenging Darrin Jones, 1st boofhead, to make it a "proper" race next year and "leave the skins behind". Darrin swam in a fastskin. Yuck!! Has he no self-respect? Good girl yourself, Luane! Let's see whether he's game to take you up on it.

And another boofhead, Nick Abrahams, emails us, to blob... 
Not sure whether you did this mornings  Curl Curl-Freshwater swim but out of the 9 swims I've done this year it was probably my most enjoyed. Of course the good conditions influenced this feeling but the many buoys used was significant in making this great. Apart from the obvious benefit of not having to worry about navigation and swimming a good line, mentally it's such a win for everyone - by seeing buoys regularly one feels progress and has short term goals in seeing buoys ahead. I know there was the vote on your site about the TYPE of buoys but when there's many the type is not so much of an issue. I'd really appreciate if you could encourage your surf club friends to employ as many as possible. Many swimmers made this comment today.
  Wish we could have bin there. We're at Forster on Sat'dee night (see above), preparing (in the bar at Koorey's Dorsal hotel) for the Club to Club on Sundee. DY2K and Terrigal also Sundee. Tell us all about them...


  1. Good swim at CurlyFresh this morning, well organised and run.
    The really quick and efficient registrations and the free sausage sizzle on the deck afterwards were a couple of good examples.
    Perfect conditions - dive under a couple big waves at Curly on the way out, follow the cliffs and the buoys-of-many-colours, and swim against a rip to a tricky finish position at Freshie.
    And a pleasant barefoot "walk-of-success" along the course on the smooth boardwalk back to Curly.

  2. Ah I might add, Who's idea was it to cancel the swims at Avoca next Saturday ? I was looking forward to these swims next week. It's not helping my quest to clock up a my targeted distance in OW swims this season. I was hoping to have a rest at the end of April. Looks like I'll have to keep swimming through May.

  3. The Curlie to Freshwater swim was one of the best I have ever done - and I have done a few in my time. It had everything: interesting waves at the beginning to get the juices flowing, a string of multi-coloured buoys along the way so you couldn't get lost if you tried, some of the most beautiful water of the season, fruit and drinks at Freshie and a stroll along one of the most stunning walkways in Sydney back to Curlie. But wait .... there's more ... free sausage sandwiches on the deck at the club, and not one each. You could have as many as you could fit in. And while we scoffed our way through the food, King Fuke and the Fukers plucked their ukeleles and assorted instruments with catchy boppy songs. Heaven on a stick!!

    Thanks to all especially the volunteers and water safety - a really well organised and enjoyable swim. I can't wait until the next one.

  4. The Fukers, being the obliging souls that they are, hurriedly assembled themselves at a minutes notice after King Fuke read the email that was sent around from oceanswims...

    Wasn't it a fun swim? I had a fab time, despite my shameful slowness :-)

  5. I did the DY2K swim today. The day was beautiful. The sea was beautiful. The marking of the course was not. It was impossible to navigate from the very few pointy buoys available. The swim took me a lot longer than it should because of my wandering. For quite some way I was alone. No swimmers. No buoys and no chappies on boards. I wonder why DY and Long Reef could not share buoys? It would have made a pleasant swim perfect if the course had been well marked.
    That said, I enjoyed the swim and the DY crew were very welcoming and friendly so a big thankyou to everyone.

  6. Did both Curly & Dee Why over the weekend, enjoyed them immensely coming back after a (long) month off. Water at Curl Curl was great, clear and with some good sets on the way out to slow down the tourists. Times were fast, organisation, the live entertainment (hung over or not) and tasty butchers' sossiges were excellent.

    The distance was an interesting contrast to Dee Why today, is it true that the swim-only winners came in in 32+ minutes? We certainly got our money's worth, on those (and my!) times it was closer to a 2.5km. Maybe everyone just had a little bit of trouble navigating?

    On the topic of the course layout, it would have been better to have the triangle less acute. Apart from that, having just the three corners of the triangle wasn't all that bad, navigation is part of the skill of ocean swimming and on a flat day like today hardly something to whinge about. Although most of the time, I was just hoping that the people in front of me were navigating more than I was.

    Having said that, the funniest part of the day was when the chap in front of me (a far superior swimmer) rounded the second buoy on the wrong side and started heading left towards the beach. He seemed a bit miffed when I yelled out and pointed him in the right direction!

    Highlight of the weekend was the $10 long-sleeve shirts at Dee Why, did anyone else pick one of these up? Excellent value compared to the usual $30+, they'll make for a great sun-shield over the last races of the season, and will keep me snug for the cooler winter swims too. Now who's organising those winter swims?

  7. And while we're on the topic, having been dragged away from some of the most interesting swims of the season, I can appreciate your viewpoint Richard, but seriously, how can you complain about having to swim into May to make your targets? Taking a break? From ocean swims?

    July-November will already be too long for me. I'm beginning to wonder if there's one or two steps that are lacking in the screening & approval process for a blog when this kind of rubbish mananges to skulk its Gollum-like way into public view?

  8. Nicholas - navigation may well be part of ocean swimming but let's define what navigation is or more importantly should be in ocean swimming - in my eyes it should be about an individuals ability to swim good lines, use rips wisely...NOT, being unsure for most of the race which buoy to swim to and around. Let's face it all swimmers get involved in this sport for ENJOYMENT...and guess what it's far more enoyable to have a well marked course (PLENTY OF BUOYS) and be able to take in the surroundings and focus on their swimming than taking quick stops as your unsure if your swimming in the right direction.

    You couldn't get a better example to demonstrate this than over the weekend by comparing Curl Curl to Fresshwater and the DY2K swim - both swims had just about identical conditions and supposedly the same distance (DY was far more than 2km, my GPS said 3km!). The enjoyment factor was ten fold at Curl Curl, WHY? Simple, well marked course with plenty of buoys and far more people on paddle boards / skis than Dee Why helping align the course and direct people.

    My comments are made solely to improve our ocean swims and I'm hoping they will not be misconstrued as whinging or being ungrateful to the surf clubs and volunteers who give up their time to make these swims possible. They do an amazing job but obviously need to be open to feedback, its the only way to ensure this sport grows and is enjoyable for everyone. So surf clubs, the type of buoys make a difference but the most critical thing to do to create a great race is using MANY buoys across the course.

  9. Hi Nicholas, You sound like a fellow ocean-swimming addict!
    I set myself a challenge of doing an ocean swim every weekend this season, plus a couple longer freshwater swims for good measure. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But 6 months later, starting to get a little tired, to be honest. I've entered for 2 swims next weekend. After that I may pack away my goggles for a few weeks, before getting back into training for a longer endurance swim mid-winter.
    Hey BTW re. my blog contributions. Some of them are a little tongue-in-cheek admittedly. Maybe just skip over any entries with my avatar if you're not getting value.

  10. And one last epithet, results for Curl Curl are up on their site

  11. Not to worry Richard, and apologies in advance for any ribaldry of an untoward nature. To give some context I set myself the goal of a marathon (ie 42.2km) of racing over my first season and was irate to miss it due both to the promised Tsunami and then an unscheduled and elongated vacation for work.

    Unfortunately, and as a result of these rather depressing deprivations, my humour muscles are strained and unready for normal socialisation, so you'll have to excuse any misintrerpretation of otherwise inoffensive posts, tongues or no. I guess the in-fighting is the best part though really, who gets anything out of a bunch of hippies all agreeing with each other?

    In terms of swims next weekend, you've got 7.4km waiting for you in inner Sydney if you're game. Winter may be fast approaching but I'm not sure we can start crying wolf about the lack of available aquatics yet - will look forward to seeing you at Bondi.

  12. Sorry one final comment - I think I've got something to learn from your 100km! Next season..

  13. Nicholas, Interesting that you thought the course at Dee Why today was a triangle. I thought it was a sqaure, and swam it like a square. However it seemed to be a case of choose your own adventure out there today.

    The organisers called all swimmers to the start line for the race briefing, but no briefing was given. The result - absolute mayhem, with half the field heading left to round the fourth bouy on the seaward side (to complete a square) and the other half verring right to use the fourth and first bouy as a "gate" (to complete a triangle).

    Apart from getting clobbered by diagonal swimmers towards the end I had a great day at a beach previously unvisited. Got to catch up with some north-side friends, saw the stunning Luane Rowe again and picked up one of those ten buck T-Shirts. Smiles all round !

  14. Dee Why swim results now on the Dee Why Surf Club website:

  15. Much has already been said about the Curly and Dee Why swims. I did both swims and what a contrast between the two!! Curly was so well organised and the water safety was second to none. Everytime I looked up I could see water safety - in the (sometimes HUGE) Curly break, right along the course and into Freshwater. They even made an offer at the briefing for swimmers unsure of their ability to come forward and they would do what they could to keep an eye on them throughout the event. With so many buoys along the course, no one could get lost. The post swim barbie and band on the surf club deck on such a glorious day was wonderful!

    I agree with Jason M about mayhem at Dee Why. I think that there was a briefing, only you couldn't hear it from the beach. I believe that there was also confusion with the wave starts and cap colours. I entered online in the 40-50 minute wave. When I registered, I was given a yellow cap. Just before race start I looked around, and there was Luane with a yellow cap...oops...I think I have the wrong cap colour. Looking around further, there were lots of yellows and black and only a few other colours. I recognised many of the speedsters with their yellow caps, but also a lot of slower swimmers with them as well. There was no time to sort it out so I started with the yellow caps, hanging back to keep out of the way of the fast swimmers. At the end of the race I reported to the finish desk my situation and they advised that I had been given the wrong cap colour and confirmed that I should have started in wave 2 and not wave 1 and made the necessary adjustment. I wonder how many other swimmers started in the wrong wave, using cap colour, and not realising it, and thus not having their results recorded accurately. One lady we spoke to on the beach told us that she was asked at the registration table what colour cap she wanted (!!).

    The Dee Why course also seemed to be very long - maybe because I was still tired from Curl Curl, perhaps because of my poor female navigation skills, or maybe it just was long. Anyway I certainly felt I got my money's worth! The $10 t-shirts were also great. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate the effort that the Dee Why organisers put into organising and running the event (and they were all so helpful and friendly on the day), however, as mentioned earlier, feedback is important to improve these swims for both the organisers and the participants.

    I would do both swims again!

    Susan T.

  16. I also got lost on the Dee Why course. Probably my fault for not making myself aware of course before start.

    A group of us swimming together on the homeward leg had to navigate around a few swimmers heading towards the 1st buoy, it was at this point that I thought something was amiss.

    Looking out to sea in front of us were a couple of big purple buoys and a few other swimmers a long way out. It was at this point the group started zig zagging, then split up. Some went way out to go around the far purple buoy, others stayed in and some just went towards the 1st buoy, while others, me included used the buoys as a gate.

    Think, think, did we have to go around these 2 purple bouys? Do I make the effort to go right out and go around the far purple buoy or just use the bouys as a gate. Confusion, will there be a protest about the swimmers who did not go around the buoys? Not knowing what was the correct course in relation to these 2 buoys and as swimmers went everywhere in relation to these purple buoys I mentally gave up the hard effort.

    Who took the correct course? On the beach I voiced my concern to fellow swimmers and nobody had a definitive answer.

    No problem as I only enter these swims to support surf clubs and the pleasure of being able to swim in our glorious waters with the shark factor mitigated somewhat with so many other swimmers, results are irrelevant.

    Dee Why was one of those enjoyable swims due to the conditions, however just a bit confusing with the course.

    Bryce S

  17. i did the terrigal swims yesterday and would like to congratulate the surf club for another great day (last year was excellent too). very friendly people! even the fellow swimmers were friendly - i know that people don't mean to clobber you but there wasn't even any of that.

    would also like to say a huge thank-you to all the excellent people in the first aid tent who helped me as i got a very nasty chemical burn to my eye from anti-fog spray i'd put in my goggles. they went out of their way to help me and i will be delivering them a huge box of choclates when i come back to pick up my car!

  18. Forster - second week of numerous bouys (one always in view), spent most of the race swimming quietly by myself, not a swimmer for as far as the eye can see (mine are bad though).

    Was a very pleasant experience, chilled and relaxed.

    How nice to sight the final two bouys heading towards the white sand, helped to summon up the last once of energy.

    See you all at Bondi.

  19. Hi Sue, I nominated to swim sub 40 minutes at Dee Why and was also given a yellow cap but told to start in Wave 2. I took a step back at the starting line to let Wave 1 go first, but soon realised that the yellow caps (and pretty much the entire field) were ready to jump with Wave 1. So it was goggles down and follow the masses for me.

    Was there even a Wave 2 ?
    Maybe Wave 1 was the 800m fun swim ?

    The results have now been posted and my offical time agreed with my own stopwatch, so there was no time adjustment for supposedly starting in Wave 2.

    Just checked the website and the course map shows a rectangular course, rounding the outside of the fourth purple bouy.

    I had my best ever result yesterday, and felling even more chuffed with it knowing that I took the long way home. I couldn't stick around for the presentation - Was 2nd place in your category good enough for a prize ?

  20. Out of interest - I didn't hear much of the briefing at Dee Why but the one thing I did hear was that the purple buoys were 'informational only' i.e. they could be used as a guide if we wanted but weren't part of the 2k swim.

    As someone has already noted above, I suspect that a lot of the details would have been clearer the closer one was to the PA system.
    Looking on the Dee Why SLSC website too there's a very nice picture of the (triangular) course. Having pictures like this readily visible at the race is definitely worthwhile.

  21. Pristine conditions at Dee Why on Sunday, wonderful swim with great water safety. It was a very very long 2km swim, 2.7km to be exact as recorded on GPS.

  22. After tres salchichas y rojo toro, King Fuke and the Fukers, I did not know which lane to get into on the way home. It was no surprise that the medals at Dee Why had wings.
    stieg Zitrone

  23. I did both Curly and Dee Why this weekend, and agree with most of the above comments - Curly was absolutely lovely and really enjoyable, particularly Luanne's speech!

    Technical suits were banned at most ocean swims last year, and the ones these blokes were wearing are also now banned in pool competition. So why are they suddenly allowed this year??

    Also agree with the comments on the Dee Why swim - I got lost several times and rarely saw the water safety. A friend who pulled out during the race actually had to go in search of water safety to let them know. And the course was much further than 2km (2.5km?).

    I hope the (lovely) Dee Why organisers are reading this, because it has the potential to be a fantastic swim!

  24. A great weekend of swims. I did Curly and Terrigal. Interesting contrast of conditions but both beautiful days and crystal clear waters. As Rosie put it, Curly had everything, from the great scenery, challenging surf entry and a line of buoys, that you could not miss. The efforts of this club (and I understand with help from North Curly and Freshie) made for an excellent day. And after that was all over, funky music from the Fukers almost got me dusting off the vinyls. That, free sangas and the added controversy (hear, hear, Luane!!) made for a brilliant day.

    Terrigal is a well run swim in a beautiful location and (if my memory serves me correct) had around 170 swimmers in the 2km, and 140? in the 1km. The sea was like a lake in the shadow of the Haven but then we got out into some rolling swells at the far point. It's a great hit out, if you just want to go your hardest; I suppose after the journey swims, swimming in a box shaped course can become a bit disinteresting, but if you finish where you start, this will always be the case.

    And to add, I was pleased to see Richard Murray on his way to achieving his goal of clocking his 100km this season. Richard might not make it because of a few set backs but hey, well done Richard for setting yourself an admirable target. Most of us set our own goals in swimming; it teaches us discipline, not only in training but in life - why not share your goals and ocean swims and let us know how you went?

  25. Hey Bambi,
    Your 3rd place medal is waiting for you in the Terrigal Surf Club.
    I stuck around for the presentation and went home with the main lucky door prize - a stay at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal. It was worth driving up from Sydney just for that (plus a couple lovely ocean swims at Terrigal).
    This year we've had it all, with swims being cancelled because of cold water, Tsunami warning and a shark scare. A reminder that we can't control the ocean and so every swim is an adventure for me.
    I'll have another look at the numbers after next weekend.

  26. Sunday was my fourth Dee Why swim (only just made it and had to plead to organisers to let us swim - thanks) and so I sort of have an idea of where I'm going now (although I was a bit confused when I swam into three swimmers coming the other way from the first group). When I swam my first Dee Why swim I was way off course on the way back and almost missed the last buoy (I was about 100m too far out to sea) so I can understand some swimmers concern and I do agree that the buoys are sparse but that's the reason why I like this swim so much! You're on your own to find your own way around and navigating is a part of ocean swimming. Thanks Dee Why.

  27. I tend to agree with Anonymous, having your course plotted for you by numerous marker bouys can be boring and diminishes one of the challenging aspects of ocean swimming.

    Rather than play follow the leader, I make my own decisions on which angles to swim towards to next unsighted bouy. Usually, those decisions differ from what the peleton is doing. Who makes the better decsions ? I guess I'll never know, but I prefer it that way.

    Maybe one day in the future we'll all wear GPS devices and there'll be a prize for the swimmer who covered the least distance. It could be called the Captain Cook Award Navigational Excellence.

    In the meantime, lets keep it interesting. At least on clear days with low swells and minimal surface chop, limit the number of bouys. It will give locals an advantage on their home ground and sort out the genuine ocean swimmer from the pool swimmers who need that continuous black line (or similar) to find their way from start to finish.

  28. Jason M - re Dee Why, you're definitely in the minority with your comments that a well marked course with plenty of buoys is boring. Not everyone gets kicks out of getting lost or being unsure of the right direction.

  29. I'll take the well marked course anytime, especially on destination swims. If you got lost on the curly swim your exit was up the rocks, so thanks for the well marked course. I'm sure the insurance companies would not loathe to hear about swimmers getting lost.......

  30. Sunday at DY was stunning. Beach was a picture and and surrounding cafes and trees a refreshing change for those of us crossing the Bridge from E Subs beaches. The surf club volunteers handling registration, start, safety, results and refreshments were friendly and efficient but possibly a little stretched. Maybe it should be advertised as a 2.4 - 2.5 kms course for future as it certainly seemed a long time before the Northern buouys loomed out of the small swell and all finishing times about 10 mins longer than expected.
    Conditions were sensational. Not sure how or if I would have found buouys if there had been more chop.
    The race web page seems to display with Internet Explorer but not with Google Chrome.
    I hope to be there next year but ready for the longer distance.

  31. I’d agree. I am in the minority on the subject of buoy number and course markings, but I often read comments on this blog which indicate that it’s the variables of ocean swimming that most appeal to the punters.

    I’m not suggesting that swimmer safety be jeopardised, but if course maps can be provided at registration and a decent pre-race briefing held, then at least the direction you swim, and the side on which you round buoys shouldn’t be an issue. If there are sufficient water-safety personnel then any strays could be rounded-up and set back on course without too much trouble.

    Its just my humble opinion as a newcomer to the sport, that under the right conditions, buoy numbers should be kept to a minimum to maintain the variable, reward the good navigators and keep challenging the masses. Afterall, we’re all here for a challenge aren’t we ?

  32. Dee Why was an excellent swim - again, the organisers did a great job however can they consider using more water safety in future to put some minds more at ease! I saw plenty of lifesavers on the final stretch of the leg home however can't recall seeing any especially up towards the buoys closer to the long reef headland

    Loved the swim which certainly showed off Dee Why at it's glorious best!

  33. Dee Why was at its best on Sunday with fine autumn weather, clear clean water and friendly volunteers. I agree with many of the previous bloggers that there could have been more water safety out there. The idea that this is an ocean swim and the challenge of ocean swimming is the navigation is very true. However, there were some newer swimmers out there, inexperienced in such things and I think that it would have helped to have more water safety, especially near the buoys, to assist the newer chums to find their way and to reassure them. Some people also remarked that they had been swimming in one direction only to encounter swimmers from the opposite direction. I recall that this happened when I did this swim 2 years ago. This is not pleasant and perhaps the organisers could consider plotting the course so that there is more water separating swimmers, eg, make the swim along the length of the beach slighter shorter and take us further out to sea to make the turn for the return part of the swim.

    A map of the course at registration or somewhere nearby would also have been a help as many people were unsure of the course and where the buoys were. I saw a number of swimmers cutting the buoys - which may have been "legal" - but I didn't let it spoil my day. I really enjoyed myself.

    Thank you to the organisers and volunteers who went to so much trouble to run a fun swim. I hope the organisers take these comments in the spirit intended - to improve a wonderful swim on a lovely beach.

  34. Has any one else had a problem with their times from DY?
    My official time was 6 minutes longer than my stopwatch - therefore I believe I was listed to go as part of the first wave, even though I was clearly wearing a green cap.
    It was a beautiful day - but a better briefing and a couple more buoys would have made it a little easier on all.

  35. Hi all
    Just wanted to publicly thank the Shark Is organisers for sending me my prize.

    It arrived in the mail today.

    I often place (sorry - no brag intended) but very rarely get the prize because reasonably enough my family do not want to hang around for presentations. They have already hung around for quite a while wathing me swim - good on them!!

    None of the other organisers of swims have gone to the extra effort of actually posting me my prize (except maybe one year The Big Swim organisers). Sorry if I missed someone else - but generally the attitude is - you miss out if you don't hang around.

    So - big thank you

    Not sure where to place this message but thought Shark Is Organisers should be congratulated


  36. Dee Why was a farce - enrolled in the right category, was given the wrong cap and assured I was in the correct wave, had to start in the following wave and ended up with a time based on a first wave start.
    The good news is that with the number of swims on these days we don't have to put up with shoddy organisation.

  37. Those are some seriously beautiful photographs of Forster beach Dave, beautiful, congratulations.

  38. Also swam DY last week. Agree with the majority of comments about the number of buoys / water safety as I was one of those swimmers about 100m off course out to sea. It was a great day and my first time at this swim, but other than lack of buoys and water safety, just 2 more comments of constructive critique for the organisers:
    1) Perhaps work with Warringah Council to arrange for discounted ($5-$10) parking passes for the day that can be picked up at registration. I think alot of people did not stick around simply due to parking. A day of parking here is more than Bondi or Manly.
    2) Advertise it as a 2.4km swim or shorten the course, but let's get the distance right so that the right expectations are set up.

    To the few comments on wave numbers - Wave 1 was the 800m swim, Wave 2 was the first wave of the '2' km swim.

    Otherwise, thanks for a great day.


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