5 useful hints when open water swimming
There is no feeling like the exhilaration and excitement of open water swimming, and the Isle of Man is the perfect place to take the plunge, especially Port Erin.
Adrenaline pumps through your body as you jump into the bracing water. Along with this being hugely sociable and endorphin-creating, the health benefits are tremendous, and often not widely realised, such as a boosted immune system, and better sleep.
Open water swimming groups
Open water swimming equipment
After practicing in a pool until you are ready to take the plunge, you need the right gear. You can wear your usual swimming costume underneath your wetsuit, and swim socks plus swim gloves are useful in low temperatures.
5 top tips for wild swimming
Here are our top 5 tips when open-water swimming, and ones which we wish we had known when we first started!
Layer a thermal hat underneath a second bright hat so other people can easily see you. A thermal hat like this that has a chin strap is a particularly good idea in low water temperatures.
Goggles are a necessity, and its best to have them adjusted correctly before you get into the water. The wrong pair or fit could leave you treading water when you want to be swimming, or a greasy lens could mean you are unable to sight properly. Specific open water googles like this are useful for maximum vision, and UV protection helps shade your eyes in strong sunshine. Always rinse them well afterwards.
Neoprene swim socks are great in cooler temperatures like these, and also guard against painful pebbles and stones on your way into the water.
A high visibility float with an attachment to be tied around your waist is a good idea, and adds extra confidence to those watching you from the shoreline, or swimming in your group. Try this one. Never swim alone, and make sure you stay in sight of others. Buddy up with another swimmer to look after each other and have a plan of the point you are aiming for.
3.Your wetsuit and how to get it on!
This is never easy! A useful tip is to stand with a plastic bag on each foot, slip your feet through the legs of the wetsuit one after the other, and once you are in with your wetsuit up-to your waist, pulled as high up your legs as possible, remove the bags. Once over your arms, ensure someone can assist you with zipping up the back, and keep the chord outside the suit for easy removal later on.
Choosing the right wetsuit can be complicated. This depends on the thickness (influencing the thermal properties and flexibility) you are looking for and the buoyancy you require in your legs. A wetsuit with a ratio of 3:5 means 3mm in the body and 5mm in the legs, which naturally lifts your legs higher in the water. If you have a stronger swimming background and your legs already sitting high in the water, a 4:4 will suit best. When buying a wetsuit, look closely at the sizing guide which takes into account height and weight, and if in doubt, go for the larger size, and a wetsuit that is thicker to keep you warmer, even if the flexibility is slightly compromised, unless of course you are racing.
If you are building confidence or perhaps want to swim alongside others who may be stronger, fins are a good idea for your first few open water swims. Its not easy walking to the water line or down the jetty in fins, and (other than looking hilarious to passers-by) could result in a nasty slip. So wearing flip-flops or beach shoes whilst carrying your fins is a good idea, and leave your flip-flops safely somewhere that they cannot be washed away for your return trip up the beach. Take care not to leave them on the beach if you think the tide is on its way in! Once safely near the water, put on your fins.
The best piece of equipment we could recommend- a large towel with a hood that you place over your head, and you can change underneath it, preserving your modesty at the same time!! There is nothing worse than coming out of the water to change, numb fingers, struggling with straps and zips and not being able to hold a towel at the same time. Open water swimming got better once we purchased one of these!
If you are staying with us in Palm Villa or Seaview, you are so close to the beach that you don’t even need to get changed out of your wetsuit! Seaview is on the beach, and Palm Villa is less than 30 seconds walk away, so you will be back at your cottage ready for a steaming hot shower with the coffee on in no time!
If we can provide any further suggestions on kit or places on the Island we recommend to swim, please contact us and we will be delighted to help.
Our favourite is Port Erin, a beautiful u-shaped bay with excellent bathing water quality.
Located at Port Erin beach, we have two holiday cottages sleeping six each and are dog friendly
Seaview is located on the beach, with every room having a wonderful beach view. Bedrooms: Superking (can be split into singles), double, plus a twin bedroom
The garden and bbq area have a view of the beach, with a further reading room/ games room.
Palm Villa is located in a quiet lane just behind Seaview. It is a renovated townhouse with th layout being over four floors, and each bedroom is on a separate floor. Bedrooms: Kingsize en-suite, double en-suite, plus a twin.
The kitchen and living/dining area is open plan to form a beautiful social space for groups and families. Book here
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