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Open water swimming is like a form of meditation. We’ve yet to come across something that clears your head and soothes your soul as effectively that you can do for free! With incredible spots like the Forty Foot in Dublin to the Pollock Holes in Clare, there’s sure to be a spot close to you no matter where you live in Ireland. Once you’ve caught the bug (and trust us, you will!) and you’ve graduated beyond a quick dip, you’ll want to start investing in a few key pieces of open water swimming equipment to make your swims both safer and more enjoyable. Take a look at these seven key pieces of kit that we think every open water swimmer should have.
Getting out of the wild Atlantic Ocean even in the height of the Irish summer can be a bit too ‘fresh’ at times! We’re big fans of our Granny’s towel ponchos, but for something game-changing (especially if you’re committed to becoming a winter swimmer) there is the Dryrobe. It makes the world of difference to how long you can hang about post dip for the gossip! More importantly, it’s essential for energy preservation and protecting you from the elements. Our favourite part is the lined pockets!
Available from Surfdock.
The moment you feel that open water swimming is becoming your daily/weekly/monthly ritual instead of the odd mad dash in and out then the time has come to invest in a buoyancy aid. The RESTUBE swim is the perfect companion to attach to your back unnoticed until you need it. Ideal for use as a rest/emergency/visual aid, it can be inflated manually or with gas cartridges for rapid inflation. It’s essential for anyone who regularly spends time in the water.
Available from Mick’s Garage.
Summer is the perfect time to start your sea swimming career as the water is just that little bit warmer. However, even with the warmer temperatures, it is best not to become complacent when it comes to safety. With more boats and water users in general it is imperative you are visible in the water. The Swim Secure buoy is a multi-functional piece of kit – it will ensure you are visible to other water users, it gives you something to hang on to if you need a rest (it can support an adult’s weight when used as a buoy) and it will keep your valuables safe and dry.
Available from Portwest.
Open water swimming: tips for overcoming fear
There is nothing more frustrating than when you’re out in open water and your goggles slip or start to leak! We’ve all been there, ungracefully floundering to empty and reinstate them. The Zone3 Venator-X Swim Goggles is one of the best goggles we’ve come across for open water swimming. Decked out with wide-angle, curved lenses with anti-fog coating, they have yet to see us wrong!
One cheat to an easier life that every open water swimmer will learn (usually the hard way!) is that having a bottle of anti-fog spray in your gear bag will save you a world of frustration. Not only does it ensure that your swim is a whole lot more enjoyable by being able to see through your goggles, but it also prolongs the lifespan of pre-treated lenses.
Available from Wiggle.
No one likes swimmer’s ear, and if you’re spending large amounts of time in cold water (aka in any body of water in Ireland!), you need to protect yourself from it. You do so with a pair of earplugs. Northcore’s Surfshields Surfers Ear Plugs are designed to block out water while allowing sound in. They are also super comfortable to wear.
Often overlooked, changing mats are an absolute must to ensure you don’t get left with sandy or muddy feet when getting back into your clothes. They can also act as a way to keep your clean kit off of the ground while you are changing. The Typhoon Changing Mat is particularly good as it is both lightweight and folds up for easy transportation.
Available from Portwest.
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