One of the joys of open water swimming is the exposure it gives you to the elements, especially if you swim in the sea. Body surfing is great fun, it builds your strength and, if you know what you’re doing, can save you valuable time in a race. For our June 2011 issue, we asked Steven Munatones of Open Water Source to tell us more about it:
“From gentle waves lapping at sandy beaches of the Cayman Islands to monstrous breakers crashing in on Oahu’s north coast, the power of the ocean can be seen everywhere, on every shore. Like surfers, experienced open water swimmers can utilise this wave power to their benefit.
“If knowledge is power, then knowing how waves break, where they break and how to ride them can help you become a better competitive open water swimmer. When swimmers think about currents, waves and surface chop, their initial thoughts are generally negative – all of these things can make swimming harder. However, tactically minded swimmers and triathletes relish these marine phenomena during ocean events because they can be used for a faster swim.
“Waves will always move faster than any swimmer – even a sprinting Olympian. So, if you can catch a wave and elevate your speed at the end of a race with the wave’s momentum, you will move faster than any other competitor. It’s the ultimate sprint finish.
“Of course, there is also the simple thrill of being picked up by Mother Nature and propelled like leaves on a windy day. The feeling of visceral propulsion is addictive. Once you learn how to catch a wave, you’ll want to do it again and again.”
To read more, look out for H2Open Magazine in WH Smiths.