Advice for Newbies

A few weeks ago I asked people what information / topics they would like to see included and quite a few mentioned advice for those new to sea swimming. As we are so lucky to be surrounded by an easily accessible sea, this advice will not, at the moment, cover rivers which can be an entirely different beast.

For those of us who have been sea swimming for as long as they can remember it might seem a little daft to state the obvious. BUT it is ONLY obvious for those who have been this lucky.

As many of us are doing things more slowly and thoughtfully at the moment, I will write this over a week or so depending on how sunny it is and therefore how much time I am ‘forced’ to spend in the garden 😊

Tip 1: If you are new to sea swimming then it is an excellent idea to find someone with experience, who regularly swims in that location. Thankfully, with the rapid rise of social media there are groups that can help. The group with whom I swim most often are the Salty Sea Birds (Facebook – Outdoor Swimming Isle of Wight) and we meet regularly (in normal times) in Sandown Bay, year round, either at The Sundial cafe at the end of the Esplanade or at Yaverland slip way by the sailing club. If you would prefer to swim elsewhere, still get in touch as we may be able to put you in touch with swimmers more local to where you would prefer to swim.

Tip 2: A question / debate that seems to ‘rage’ in some circles – but definitely not ours – ‘Do I wear a wetsuit or not?’ This is entirely up to you. No-one will think any less or more of you because whatever you wear, you are doing more than all of those who’re doing nothing. You will still have the same fun, the same wonderful feeling of a) being in the water with its ever changing moods and beauty and b) part of a lovely, incredibly eclectic, more often than not, artistic community or slightly anarchic people who love the sea and the benefits of sea swimming.

Tip 3: Do not worry about your swimming ability. It really doesn’t matter. Some people swim, some lie in the water doing otter impersonations, others pop in and out; again, you are doing something – that’s all that is important. None of us are training for the Olympics, we just love being in the sea.

The next few tips will be about safety, post-swim drop (‘What?’ I hear you say? – you’ll sea) so watch this space 😊

Published by Victoria Thorneton-Field

Oceanographer, writer, advocate for mental health and environmental issues, all-year-round sea swimmer, located on the beautiful Isle of Wight.

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