Sunday, May 1, 2011

Arrival of winter swimming

South Curl Curl, Byron Bay... they herald the start of winter swimming season. All around the coast, clubs with names like Icebergs, Splashers, Mackerals, Frigid Frogs got going this weekend in the winter swimming season, many of them at beach pools on beaches which, until now, have been the scene of ocean swims. The Byron Bay swim has been held on the first Sunday in May because, traditionally, that's the start of winter swimming (it's nothing to do with the Labour Day holiday in Queensland). Now South Curly is building a similar tradition, although their timing has been more to do with finding an empty Sundee in Sydney.

Port Macquarie was Sat'dee, too, and that was to do with the Port Macquarie Iron May. So, really, these swims have little to do with the start of winter swimming, outside Byron Bay. But together, that's what they herald.

And what a weekend! South Curly deserves credit for the courage they showed in going ahead with the swell as it was on their own beach. Curly is gnarly in any kind of swell, but when it gets up, it is one of the most dangerous beaches on the coast. So it was moved to Freshwater, next door, and what a lovely swim it was. Some very big swells rolling through, but the rip ripped us out to the gates, and it wasn't too difficult getting back. Ended up at 1.47km, with a couple of hundred of metres of that running into the sea.

The swell was from the east, which means Byron would not have had the protection it normally has from difficult seas, which usually roll in from the sou'-east. Port Macquarie switched their course into the Hastings River.

How was your swim this weekend...


  1. Great swim at Byron, although a lot of sea water swallowed.

  2. Yes good form by the powers that be to work out a solution to the swell in moving to Freshwater. Having had to give up the original Freshy swim this season in favour of my virgin attempt at Tama-Cloey I was happy with this anyway - especially after seeing the wild swell off the point on the rather brilliant walk around from Curly.

    Interesting too to see two swimmers coming round the same point on the way back - especially given the rip off the end of Curl Curl beach itself. The male half seemed to be struggling a bit, eventually being forced to make an impromptu exit onto the rocks near the pool. No such problems for his female counterpart.

    As always the honest charm of the Northern beaches swims was evident everywhere, from the friendly organisers, to the friendly water safety, to the friendly locals. And on such a nice day for it, and with free sausage sandwiches, and the rather splendid free Fuking, one wonders how it would even be possible to leave such a place in anything other than the best of moods. Thanks to all who made it such a superb day.

  3. Fantastic morning at sth curl curl/freshwater yesterday. Wonder if I can join the surf club despite living two hours away. What a fun bunch. Changed course was clearly designed for a fast, fun run out to the first buoys. The original course looks like a great one (although wouldn't have been possible yesterday), so I will be back again for sure!
    Ps. Sorry for spelling errors on previous blog topic - was under pressure to get off computer and didn't check spelling.

    And thanks so much to the surf club for still having a swim on!

  4. Great day you put on South Curly! Congratulations on putting on such a well organised swim. The only shame is there weren't more punters there to enjoy it.

    I am terrified of being dumped in big surf so was very pleased with your decision to move to the relatively calm seas of Freshie. The walk around the boardwalk would have convinced any doubters this was a great decision. I was also hugely relieved to see so many clubbies assigned to water safety too, they looked mature (no offense to other swims - but whippets of kids on boards don't make me feel safe). I did cop a bit of a dumping on the way back in but it could have been a whole lot worse and I could see the water safety keeping an eye on me.
    Something I learnt later the organiser had swum the course twice prior to the race to make sure it was safe - how many swims can claim that?
    How bizarre to have the start delayed so they could co-ordinate the rescue of a photographer who had been swept of the rocks near the pool at South Curly.
    A huge congratulations to the two club members who dived into a treacherous boiling sea to save him risking their own lives.
    The atmosphere in the club afterwards was like being at a big family BBQ. Everyone was so friendly and The Fukers were fantastic! Of note also was big burly Bryn proudly toting around and showing off his three week old niece - Maddie- just snuggled up in the crook of his arm asleep - too cute! The presentation went off smoothly - the post it note timing system proved its self again. I haven't heard one timing or placing complaint.
    Thanks South Curly - I'll be back and I'll bring more friends, promise!

  5. Awesome swim. They really had the punters in mind. A well organised swim by a great bunch of people. The clubbies were all only too happy to help and were friendly and eager to offer advice and help. The water safety was outstanding, they were everywhere.
    Definitely be back next year.

  6. Speaking of which, has anyone seen anything of the results from Curly?


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