Sunday, February 10, 2013
Lake Bondi at its best, until the breeze cooms in
Lovely day at Lake Bondi, showing itself at its best other than that some could have done with a bit more swell. It was warm, but not hot, with a gentle, refreshing breeze blowing from the nor'-east. Good numbers for this swim, too: 1,235 online entries, up from 1,039 the previous season. Distances as measured by the os.c GPS-in-a-plastic-bag were 1.27km for the shorter swim, and 1.91km for the longer.
There was hardly any swell at the nor'-eastern end of Bondi Beach -- North Bondi itself faces almost due south -- and that is what makes this sport such a good ocean swim venue. All those CanTooers who got crunched in the break at Palm Beach two weeks earlier can have had no complaints this time, as there was virtually no shore break through which to crash this time. Looking sarf, there was swell. Indeed, swimmers reported that, past Ben Buckler, around the first turning booee, things began to get bumpy. That's because the swell out there was from the nor'-east, and it didn't wrap into the northern corner, but it did give swimmers a push along the outer reach towards Mackenzies Point.
Good timing, too: as the final mug swimmers schlepped into North Bondi at the end of the 2km, the southerly hit. A brisk, trenchant breeze, cutting up the water's surface and, over time, kicking up some windswell in the northern corner which, as the tide dropped, created that beach break that we'd lacked earlier. We'd been planning to make our return to the sea after a break of more than three months, but when that southerly blew in, we decided to leave it until next week at Malabar.
A couple of unfortunates were stung (blueys, but you didn't need us to tell you that), but all in all, they reported, conditions were triffic.
It made us wonder, though, to see a pod of punters pulling on wetties in this weather. We tweeted the pic, only to have (apparently) one of them, Jeff Sapier (who tweets as @getmeabucket), respond: "These events are great for triathlon training, happy to support other surf clubs if you don't like it". We understand Jeff's point. It's a comment on triathlon, though, that wetties are such an established element of the gear that training for one of these events ipso facto means swimming in a wettie. Surely they hold triathlons in warm water sometimes, and surely this requires practice, too. The water was warm at North Bondi today, and so was the sun. Swimming in a wettie raises OH&S issues, also, such as hydration. Another twit, Tamera Lang (@discokitkat), responded: "This makes it awfully tempting to turn up to a tri and do the 'run' in roller skates and still claim I finished the event".
We love the debate; the to-ing and fro-ing.
The only negative we heard was that the swim was crowded with many "newer" swimmers (read, CanTooers, according to more established swimmers), still apparently coming to terms with the corollaries of breaststroke, particularly around booees. CanTooers are a positive, actually, with so many coming into our sport through this admirable charity organisation. There's a lovely spirit about the CanTooers, such a warm, positive sense of personal achievement. Not all skills are learnt upfront.
One other carp was that, yet again, and at the last minute, the starter combined the final wave, the Codgers, with the Back of the Packers. Some Codgers don't like this.
It was tweeted afterwards, too, that some names were missing from the results. If you're not there, send us an email and we'll pass it on to the timers... click here
In Victoria, it was the weekend of The Bloody Big Swim, 10km from Frankston to Mornington. And, in Devonport, 40kmh winds forced the courses to be reset into triangles inside sheltered waters. How lucky that they had those sheltered waters offering such ready succour!
But tell us about your swim(s) this weekend... click the Comments link below...