Sunday, May 6, 2012

A swim to remember

Many will have varying views of the Byron Bay swim in 2012. It was called off on the beach, at the start at Wategos, just a couple of minutes before the first wave was to leave the beach. We reckon few would argue about it being called off. The start was difficult, but the finish, with a rising swell dumping onto a shallowing bank, was a nightmare. There was no doubt that the organisers had to make that decision the way they did. But why leave it until punters were waiting on the beach ready to start? Anyone watching at Byron main beach could see what the swell was doing on that bank as the tide dropped. It was a decision that could have been made a couple of hours earlier. Mind you, had they called it before we schlepped around to Wategos, we wouldn't have got to swim the course at all.

It is one of the great traditions of ocean swimming that, if a swim is called off, we swim the course anyway, conditions permitting. And so it was today. Indeed, it was a glorious swim, rolling through the swells over the bomboras as we were sucked from east to west in a ferocious sweep.

But there were three little issues along the way. At the start, those who tried to crimp the distance by starting at the western end of Wategos found themselves swept back into the rocks by the sideways sweep. Some were pulled out by lifesavers (which points to the other issue in organisers' minds when they call a swim: the safety of their own volunteers, particularly life savers on water safety duty). What you had to do, and what experienced swimmers did, was to head straight out from the lighthouse end of the beach for 50-100 metres until finding clear water, then head west towards main beach. Indeed, you had to follow the course set by the booees. If you did that, the sweep took you around The Pass into main beach, not into the rocks before The Pass.

Then, half way across the bay, there was the little issue of the bomboras. On the dropped tide, one of those bomboras was exciting but benign. But the other, shallower bombora, was boiling. One very good swimmer told us afterwards how he helped to rescue a punter who'd been caught on the shallower bombora. He'd gone under twice. Probably didn't know himself the danger he was in. The swells were rolling through, but out the back there, they were big and they packed a punch. This punter was lucky there was a strong swimmer close by with the presence of mind to support him.

Then the dump at the finish... The tide was dropping, the sweep was ferocious, the swells were standing higher in the dropping tide, and crashing onto the bank. The unwary or inexperienced would have been mushed like overcooked peas in that break, so easy it was to break your back or your neck.

So it was right that the organisers called off the swim. No argument there.

But they said it was a postponement, not a cancellation. Normal policy for the Byron Bay swim is that any postponement is for a month, with the rescheduled date a month after the original date. This would make it June 3. Indeed, that's what the event's downloadable entry form says and what is reported the following day, Mondee, in the Northern Star, the local newspaper. For many, if not most visiting swimmers, however, it is a cancellation since they can't get back to the Bay for the re-run.

Most cancelled swims provoke some complaints, but most swims are clear in their entry conditions that if seas force cancellation, there are no refunds. Even the cheapest swims provoke whinges from some -- Warriewood at $20 provoked two punters in particular to whinge to us to high heaven. Byron Bay at $65 would be expected to prompt more complaints.

Many, if not most visiting swimmers will not be able to make the postponement date. Many shape their ocean swimming season around a finishing swim in Byron Bay, planning the air travel, the local accommodation, etc, around it. Most cannot come back from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, even Perth at such short notice. At least there is a postponement date. Most swims in Sydney, for example, don't have such luxury because the season is so jam-packed that no other dates are available, not to mention the difficulty in re-assembling their volunteers for another, unexpected day.

That said, now the Byron organisers are saying their "midweek" meeting will consider whether to re-run the swim at all. So much for the long-standing one-month postponement policy. The swim has raised a lot of money for local charities. We reckon, by a quick calculation, around $130,000 in entry fees alone, without taking into account sponsorships. Swimmers would appreciate knowing where these funds go. Who gets them? What charities benefit? What are the swim's overheads? This should be something all swims are only too happy to disclose.

The Byron swim 2012 will go down in folklore.


  1. I am all for cancelling an event if the conditions are dangerous - but Byron beach was still open, with flags up and as a life saver that I dont understand. What I do understand is the pressure placed on all organisors these days in these events, and thats why I rarely enter and pay instead - free paddle/surf instead where I like in the conditions I like. There is no answer these days as we bought it all on ourselves, but I will say the 3 other people I swam with both 1st time ocean swimmers all loved it without any drama`s in fact I will say as a 8 time finisher it was the easiest one yet. Not sure if I will return this time ( will look at the tide/ocean chart before heading down) or ever as an ocean swim is that, not confident stay in the pool please.....
    On a happy note saw the biggest turtle and caught a bomb in the middle

  2. Hi Paul

    Interesting read. I have a number of points

    1. It appeared many did swim the course, how many required rescuing in the break zone?

    2. they held the 1km swim early in the morning. Did the conditions change significantly in the hour between this race and the start? I would say they didn't. Your right anyone with any surf knowledge could have looked at the surf/bank conditions in the morning i.e. 7am and looked at the tidal predictions for the day (low at 1pm?) and work out what the end result was going to be.

    3. There appears to be a lack of contingency planning or ability to adapt to conditions. Surely there could have been other options? Could there have been an out and back race with a finish at wategos or even a finish at the the pass? bigger gaps between waves with a shift in water safety towards the break zone? I'm sure there are others


  3. Good summary of the day's drama Paul. I had come a long way from Victoria and was looking forward to this as my "season ender" swim. But I'm a bay swimmer, used to calmer conditions. If the water safety guys tell me it's not safe, I have no confidence I could do it. Was already unsure about my ability to get in and out before the race was cancelled. Sadly, I can't come back in a few weeks. But I had a lovely weekend, and enjoyed meeting the @ocean swims crew.

  4. Yeah a poor call when the decision was made, at the start! An ocean swim has waves. I appreciate some people would be less comfortable on bigger days, but if you're entering an ocean swim that's the risk you accept. You enter and pay your money (and flights and accommodation for many) and if it's bigger than you're comfortable with on the day "you" decide if "you" want to still swim. Why is it any different to any other decision you make in life, or does everyone need their hands held. In fact I don't think it's about that at all, and unfortunately more to do with insurance and getting sued, what a "free" world we live in.

    It should be up to the swimmer to use their own brain and common-sense on the day. With perhaps a risk rating from the organisers (scale of 1 to 10), and then make up your own mind, no rocket science there.

    1. People participate in these swims because of water safety and executive decisions made whether its to rough or dangerous, they rely on the knowledge of these people. So no they don't need their hand held just safe advice when it comes to swimming around a point behind breakers out where I hope on a normal day you wouldn't swim in case somehow you ended up in trouble, hence swim between the flags, same goes for race organizers who cancelled the race. Just didn't feel right for them, they pulled the flags down.

    2. I do agree with you and you're correct, many people don't know their own strength or lack-of in the ocean and it should definitely be up to the organisers when there are so many people involved. I still think a rating that could develop into a standard would be a good thing for all ocean swims (even for the events that are not cancelled). At least less confident swimmers can compare different swims to previous swims or years, knowing if they struggled on a 4/10 swim then they shouldn't be doing a 5/10 swim (where 10 is the most dangerous). It didn't make any difference to me about the last minute cancellation, but I don't think the last minute decision was the correct one, as many did it anyway and the rescue teams wouldn't have been as ready as if the swim went ahead according to schedule - so I think it probably ended up being less safe than if it went ahead as usual. I'm not saying it shouldn't have been cancelled, but perhaps there was a better way. The organisers did a great job and Byron and the swim is always a wonderful place and event. No hard feelings, just giving different perspective which is of course subjective.

  5. Hi Paul,
    I swam the course today after the cancellation. And had no problems. But a few friends who had entered chose not to. Knowing their ability, I cannot do anything but agree with their decision not to. If they race had been ‘on’, they probably would have swam. And probably would have had dramas.
    Yes, the decision could have been made earlier. But 100% agree with the organiser’s decision.
    And finally, remember the tragedy at the recent Life Saving championships and the frenzy the media went into about whether the event should or should not have been run? No doubt that was fresh in the memory or the organisers and impacted their decision.

  6. I respect water safety and the organizers but I to was surprised to see the flags still up with no warning signs on the beach when I exited. After seeing others head in to swim after it was cancelled I headed in with a friend and completed the swim with my cap n goggles stuffed in my togs due to a massive dumping coming in to shore. It was quite a unique way to participate in such a massive (cancelled) ocean swim. I had a great day and a great swim and got to see all my amazing ocean friends and met some new ones in person as opposed to twitterville. So thanks to Bryon organizers for doing what they thought was the right thing and mostly Thankyou to those first few naughty swimmers that headed in and we all followed.

  7. I was one of the swimmers that thought it safe enough to go ahead. It was a great swim, the excitement out at the bombora was fantastic. You could hear fellow swimmers hooting as the large sets came through. And the finish, catching a barrel to end the swim was the icing on the cake. I feel sorry for the ones that didn't swim today. Perhaps the recent SLS events have made organisers/insurers a little nervous when conditions are not perfect?

  8. I was one of the people who swam back and as frustrated as I was when the cancellation was announced, I understand the decision. However, with over 2000 swimmers potentially now all about to do their own thing we are lucky their wasn't some serious incident.
    The lack of planning surprises me, a check of the conditions earlier and understand what will change (wind, tide) and you start to form a picture of what we will be looking at come 10:00am. To wait until all 2000 are at the start line is a bit late and starts to turn it into a crowd control situation there needed to be an alternative, such as has been said above "out and back from the pass" and maybe start time now moved to 2:00pm.
    I am disappointed and probably won't get back for an alternative date. It was going to be very risky to bring so many people in over that bank but I don't think canceling was the answer.

  9. Tyrone, I was one of those going WOOO as it rolled over us. It was hilarious seeing the swimmers in front going up and down like a mexican wave. The organisers made the right call. The fact they rescued a heap of people on the rocks was an indication of the conditions. Though potentially running a more controlled swim would have been better for them.. Tell people to go way out before turning left, and then can have a group going through the pass broken up in the waves, instead of everyone at once. It was a thoroughly enjoyable swim, and will be returning on June 3. However not everyone can do that.

    One of our swimmers said to one of the organisers at Wategos - You are kidding its cancelled right? 'Nope' You do realise we are going to swim it anyway right?

    Thank you to those who headed into the water first that kick started it - was certainly a great experience.

    Nic (@swimboi85)

  10. The last few buses to leave the Surf Club did not get the option of "naughtily" swimming anyway as these buses had not even driven off. I respect the organisers' decision and likely would not have swum if I had been at the start. It did look dangerous out there from the beach but seeing people arrive safely having swum with snorkels etc, made me a tad jealous!
    Interesting that they haven't confirmed a postponement date. A surf club man I spoke to straight away was very definite about 3 June and I would have booked a flight to get me there then immediately had I not realised that I am not free then...

  11. What a perfect day in Byron. Shame the waves peaked at the wrong time. Always seems frustrating when a couple hours later the beach looks much safer. I'll bet it's more frustrating as an organiser. I would have been more frustrated if they hadn't given us a lift around to Watego's. I was impressed that they gave every possible chance for this swim to get off the ground. Many organisers pull out too early. Anyway I can see why they cancel swims. I saw 5 people swim out into difficulty immediately. You see this at the pool as well. People with poor self awareness and they just don’t realize how good or bad they are at something. They hop in the lane in front of you because they think they're quicker. There they were hopping in the cancelled swim and getting washed onto rocks or dumped. Don't get me wrong I still love these people. I always feel bad for the organisers when I swim in the cancelled course. The better swimmers enjoy the rescues though. It's become a kind of second challenge at cancelled swims. Those rescued 50m into the swim should be grateful they didn't get to the end section which is why it was cancelled. PS. To the guy who chipped me about the way I resuced the older lady from the rocks I consider your comment they best example of DED(damged ego disorder) I've seen this year. Because you couldn't do it once you got there means you get a 4/10 for bravery but you do get a 5/10 for self awareness since you realised hslf way there you couldn't do it. Anyway being a local hippy, it took me longer to bring her in becuse my ponytail came out during the rescue.

  12. I feel sorry for those who didn't get on the initial run of buses to Wategos and therefore were unable to 'defy the ban' as the local paper have put it.

    I have no problem with the organisers postponing the event and I certainly don't envy anyone who has to make those decisions. However after the cancellation was made, I stood on the beach, as a responsible adult and as I do most weekends made a personal and (somewhat) informed decision as to whether I enter to the water or not.

    I chose to enter the water and in doing so had a rather enjoyable swim. Whilst the swell was big there was little to no chop and I found the swim a lot easier than this years Cole Classic.

    I also had the pleasure, as like another reader, of following a giant turtle for a few metres before it scooted out to sea. Overall a very enjoyable swim!

  13. Once the swim was cancelled I accepted the clubs decision and decided not to swim the course. Watching everyone else go out it was frustrating and very tempting to follow but it also looked chaotic. The safety crew need to be congratulated. Once the swim was cancelled I assume they were under no obligation to stay and safely patrol the course but they did.

    In any ocean swim there are going to be competent ocean/surf swimmers and those that are not so competent/confident (possibly pool swimmers but not everyone has the luxury of living by the beach and where else are you going to build up your surf skills other than the ocean) and all swimmers need to be considered when making a decision to go ahead with a swim or not. In any conditions 2,000 swimmers are a lot of swimmers to keep an eye on particularly over a 2km distance and I wonder if there had been less swimmers if the swim would have gone ahead. Perhaps 2,000 is just too many for this swim. I also think the club needs to have a backup plan in situations like Sunday when so many people travel from interstate for the swim (even I knew a few days beforehand that it was going to big surf just by looking at a website).

    This was my 5th time in Byron for this swim and it is one of my favourites and I will be back again next year whatever the conditions to swim (or not) and to enjoy the Byron generosity.

  14. A good summary, Paul.

    I really enjoyed the swim and the sense of adventure and achievement you get from completing a swim when there is a decent swell about.

    I too think the organisers did the right thing in waiting until the last possible minute before pulling the pin.

    Most seem to be of the mind that the call to cancel the event was the right one, so to me the timing of it is irrelevant.

    Scott B.

  15. Well done to the local council for booking participants on the day for parking infringements...way to go... for a charity event that has raised $500K in 25 yrs you just showed everyone what you really care about in the chambers...$90 fines on offer....I guess you expect us to walk a few km's ...anyway there is never enough disabled parking spots or general parking spots for events like these so how about some flexibility next time...I've been to Byron before so I was well prepared but many participants wouldn't even realise the town fines you on Sundays let alone during charity events...In fact why doesn't the council support the event by paying their meter maids to run a shuttle service to a local field instead....they could still wear their uniforms and hence build some public support instead. Regards ...Sky Smith from Incense Sticks of Bangalow

  16. Was my 1st Byron swim. I was one of those at watego's that made my own call to do the swim. I'd already plan my run to the 1st and last can and it still went to plan.

    My track took me acrooss the cans and the edge of the bombora was where I would have tracked anyway.

    The run into the beach was gnarly and I was one of those that gave a load woooo in excitement as a at least 6 footer came through. I was in a bit close and followed it in and got sucked and chundered onto the sandbank (it was controlled though and as I wanted. On the bank it was going in/out/east/west and at 6 ft tall I could not stand so did what you do, swam until it was shallow enough to stand 9when my fingers touch the sand whilst freestyling) then the hard part was the knee deep water and that last 10 meters to the beach. I could not stand upgainst it so swam at approx 2 o'clock to the beach and was there in 10 secs.

    From other results and competitors I swim against at other swims I aimed for between 34 and 38 mins. It took me 26! yes I'll never do Byron in that time again. What would the Superfish time be!

    Having said that I'm a strong swimmer, surf aware and the organiser's had to make a call and I support their call. In hinsight we could have ended 100 meteres to the east but hey thats hindsight.

    See ya at the next Byron swim

  17. How quickly people forget. I was one of those people who made my own decision and walked into the water surrounded by friends so we could keep an eye on each other. I did this at my own risk and I appreciate the efforts of the surf rescue people who dotted our "course" making sure we all stayed safe. A lot of people on here are complaining about the cancellation and stating emphatically that the course was safe. I am sure you would all be singing a different tune had you, one of your friends or anyone else for that matter been seriously injured. Do we not remember the outcry from people at the unfortunate deaths of two very experienced surf lifesavers at surf carnivals in recent times and how everyone cried and exclaimed organizers should have known better, the event should have been called off, things like this should never be allowed to happen etc etc. Yes, it's amazing how quickly you all choose to forget. And yes, I travelled from Sydney and I'm not screaming about the expense of a wasted trip - I still had a great time.

  18. mmmmmmmmm!! bugger!! what to do ??? what to say???having to take part in this decision process prior to the 2009 mollymook swim leaves me feeling for all swim organisers and water safety alike.

    Should i stay or should i go now ????? . Im with the go now mindset definitely.!!!

    bad luck byron definitely one of my fav's, shame they couldn't finish the race further back towards the pass the waves generally don't closeout or break so hard up that end of the beach

    maybe you could hold your swim again and call it( have your whale and eat it too)its been done before just don't do it on an established swim w/end

    regards jim betts mollymook

  19. Hey Jim. Mollymook was way scarier than Byron - but I wasn't a seasoned ocean swimmer back in 2009. I'll never forget the roiling swell and not knowing where the hell I was for most of the time. Afterwards I kissed the sand and considered checking into an asylum for cut-snake nongs.

    Byron was way more exhilarating, though just as unpredictable. I swam with a mate, who is a good navigator - we followed the buoys all the way, scoped the swimmers ahead of us (I love the Mexican wave analogy in one of the comments), occasionally stopped and checked our position, and took advice from the rescue people on the water on the way in to shore.

    Luck was definitely with us as we headed towards the beach (I muttered a prayer to the almighty and promised to go to church if he/she held off the dumpers).

    Afterwards, I was thrilled I'd completed the swim in one piece.

    I agree with Paul on every point in his report. And where does all that money go?

    Can't get back on June 3. No spare cash, no free time.

    Loved reading all the comments.

  20. My wife started the mini swim however finished it on the back of a jet ski. She was somewhat vindicated when the main swim was cancelled but still required some significant retail therapy to get over it. The SLSC was very busy & did a great job. I understand & support their decision.

    1. Email received saying will not re-run the event but have opted for a leisure swim on 3rd June. They have also stated that if you did not enter previously you can do so? Are they asking for $entry to stage a leisure swim?

    2. my report and photos here..

  21. Just got word it will be on the 3 rd and wont be a re swim, instead a course will be set for a more social swim. I can understand this due to the costs involved and would prefer that money go to the charities then on timing chips. Still very dissapointed that the worlds legalised madness has caught up with us here and do fear for the future of `open water` swimming. Comparing it to the SLSC Aussie`s deaths is wrong as in all cases craft was involved, and swimming surely is different.
    I am glad I made the call to swim, as in all cases no one should ever swim anywhere if they are not competant to self rescue, as this places to much pressure on organisors. Water is a dangerous and unforgiving beast and can never be beaten if your not prepared or accept your limitations - even in the future years of Byrons great swim if you were very worried about going out I suggest you spend this summer doing your bronze or spending time in the flags learning to swim out and back - it not only makes you strong but will always hold you in good stead in all conditions.

    I wont be going down for this more relaxed event, but enjoy if you do and great work to the winter whales for their community support

  22. Me and my mate were on the bus when it was called off and ran the 3km round to the start line to do a renegade swim. We didn’t find it problematic at all and at one point we swam past a group of elderly women that would not have looked out of place at a Country Womens Association lamington drive. These elderly women, who were metaphorically giving the middle finger to the cancelation decision, were doing fine, and did not look to be in any danger.

    Yes there was a sweep, and yes there was three foot of swell, but last I looked the event is called ‘ocean swimming’. Competitors that enter ocean swims need to realise that it is not a big pool. It seems risk management decisions are based on protecting people that should never be in the ocean in the first place.


  23. I'm not happy with the "charity swim" substitute. Other swims can re-schedule and when you're charging more than any other swim I expect at least the same level of service. And just because the money is going to charity doesn't mean that the organisers are beyond criticism. I don't know how worthwhile a "charity" the byron swim club is or the "heat the mullum pool" is. Frankly, I can think of better charities I would want my 65 buck to go to. Really, the byron organiser take swimmers for mugs. It's over-priced, there is crappy recognition for age group placegetters and if you make people pre-enter, then as a committee they should try a damn lot harder to make sure teh punters get a swim in. The philosophy of making as much money possible for these "charities" is OK, until you start screwing people over to do it.

  24. I seen those two guys running from the SLSC all the way around to the start line after it had been called off. I remember thinking they are true 'watermen'.

  25. That's gold, I heard those two watermen got out of the water and went straight across the road to the Beach Hotel and slammed down a VB as their recovery beverage.

  26. I heard ladies cheering and going wild and I looked up and it was those two watermen exiting the water. I think they were in the 35 year old category but one didn't look a day over 34.

  27. This was my first Byron swim and my 10th or so ocean swim. I did the swim with my brother from Melb (me Sydney) and the best thing about the cancellation was we were able to swim together (we swim in different age groups) it was an exhilarating and awesome swim more than tough; experiencing the bombora was one of those things in your life you can only suck your breath in and wonder at; magnificent. It was not the toughest swim I have done but those sucky shore breaks left the Surf Club with no alternative.

  28. They should start a series where by they only hold it if conditions are testing. It was the best swim I have done by far. Ocean swims done in pool like conditions are about as entertaining as day time TV.

  29. Ah yes, I admit it. I was one of the above mentioned watermen who rose against the extreme adversity of the 2 - 3 foot main beach shorey. Yes, the women were left gagging for more at the beach, and yes I may not look a day over 34, however we chose a Toohey's Red over a VB at the Beach Hotel.

    To the agro old clubbie in the zodiac who yelled at us out past the Pass to go straight in during our swim......if you had of put it to us rationally, we may have considered your request without giving you the bird, but kept swimming anyway.


    Dingo Stick

  30. Organisers have to make decisions based on the lowest common denominator and I believe they made the right decision. I was disappointed to see so many swim after the cancellation, some of whom are friends of mine and are surf club members who would be regularly on patrol. I hope next time they close the beach they are patrolling they will think differently about the swimmers who ignore their requests to get out of the water. I think it showed disrepect for Surf Lifesaving! I understand that most who swam were perfectly capable of swimming the course and they arrived safely at Byron Surf Club and I'm glad that they made it safely and enjoyed the swim, but there will always be those who underestimate their skills and follow the example of others. I am sure that I could have swum the course, I was very frustrated and full of nervouse energy when the swim was cancelled. I came all the way from Melb so also paid considerable $s to be there. I had also done a lot of training in cold Melb weather and I was so looking forward to a swim in the lovely warm water of Byron. But I chose to respect the decision. I will be donating $100 to the BB surf club as my way of thanking the lifesavers out there that rescued so many people. The people that were rescued should also be donating more than their entry fee! I watched at least 15 people being pulled from the water about 300 m from Watego as I walked on the cliff top path back to Byron.
    As for the late call. That just indicates what a difficult decision it was. Those complainers are probably people that enter events all the time but never help organise anything so happily whinge and whine but take no responsibility. I'll be back next year and hopefully will be swimming.
    Congratulations to all who made the more difficult decision to not swim - and that was the majority!

  31. Geoff Bensley Byron BayMay 13, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    From a person that has swam in Byron Bay all my life as well as Ocean Swimming all over the North Coast of Australia I believe the postponement/cancellation was definatly correct.The breaks over the reefs in middle of The Bay and the finish area dumpers are OK for experienced swimmers in maybe small numbers but how does a Surf Club look after 2000 odd swimmers over a 2.2pm straight swim course.I have been involved in Ocean Swims and Triathlons for over 20 years and people are so selfish saying that "it was ok,I can do it" .You must take into account the weakest swimmer or competitor who have travelled to an event,not the experienced/winning competitor.Ocean swimming is my strongest leg in Triathlon but calling off the Byron Bay Ocean Swim was the correct option.Why not ask the people that did get into trouble and needed rescuing by the Byron Bay Surf Club.

  32. People need to take responsibility for their own safety. If conditions are dangerous come out and tell people that they should not be entering the water unless they know they can handle it. The truth is those conditions were nothing for anyone that spends a lot of time in the ocean. As a surfer I am constantly in conditions 2-3 times bigger and more dangerous than that. But at the end of the day who cares, if events get called off and you have the skills you can just swim it anyway. To say that is selfish is a joke. Any experienced ocean swimmer that swam that on the day will tell you it was nothing. If you swam it and thought it was dangerous maybe you need to assess your abilities and reconsider making a similar decision in the future.

    1. yeah mate they do need to take personal responsibility for their own actions..but imagine if anyone was killed due to dumping or drowning... the world of surf lifesaving doesn't need any more bad publicity.

  33. I am a verteran Ocean Swimmer of 1 year, with Byron 2012 being my 2nd swim. It was a piece of

    Also, I caught up with my 89 yr old gran today. Lovely old thing. we shared some pumpkin scones with strawberry jam and cream, with a nice milky cup of Dilmah tea. She had it with 1 suger, mine with 2. She loves Dilmah, claims it's the best tea going around, and I tend to agree. Gran likes to have a yarn, so I told her about this years Byron swim - She's in for next year & said she might even dust off the old surf mat for the ride in the clarkes sweep, yew!!

  34. If it was dangerous at the Finish, then the patrolling members should have closed the beach !

  35. It was the right call. Better late than not at all.

    I am a regular on the Sunday swim throughout the year. The conditions deteriorated so quickly after the end of the mini-swim that I think organisers had no other course to take.

    Consider – big high tide, biggest moon in years, very larger gutter, quickly dropping tide, sand bank and extra large swell and northern sweep. Perfect conditions for impending disaster.
    After the personal choice of swim back (quickest in years) there were many on the surf club deck displaying grazes, bruises and bumps from their attempts to beach safely.


  36. It seems a lot of people think events should only be run when there is no swell, no sweep, no tidal changes and no sand banks. That's pool swimming. People enter ocean events for the swell, sweep and everything that goes with the ocean.

  37. I did the mini swim, and at 47 with a dozen ocean swims under my belt I found the course, across the face of the waves very difficult. Coming straight into the beach I got dumped three times in quick succcession and I am amazed I am still alive!
    The sea had a power and ferocity in the dump zone I have never experienced before. I am glad all the 2km swimmers didn't take part, or else the lifesavers would have been dragging corpses out.
    I did get a good time tough!

  38. Off topic - but can't find anywhere to raise the question.
    What happens to the results of all those surveys I've filled in?
    Do we ever get to see what they say?
    What are the issues people raise?
    Do they agree with me?
    Which swims are most loved?
    and so on and so on.

    1. Anthony, we'll be pulling an overall report together about the surveys. There's an enormous amount of good feedback in them. The hard bit is getting event organisers interested in listening to it.


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