Andre Slade

<p>Andre is the owner of OceanFit with over 20 years in the swimming education, lifeguarding and coastal safety industry.</p>

Posts by Andre Slade

Becoming world masters champion deserves a holiday

After the Australian Surf Life Saving Titles in March on the Gold Coast, I spent 10 weeks preparing for the FINA World Masters Championships and participated in a number of pool events, along with the 3 kilometre Open Water Swim.

Over 2300 masters athletes started in the Open Water Swimming event held in the crystal clear calm waters of the Adriatic Sea at Riccione, a seaside resort in north eastern Italy.

With the water temperature being around 22 degrees Celsius, conditions were perfect.

The event was held over two days with over 1,000 starters competing wave by wave from the 40- 44 down to the 25- 29 age groups on the first day and the older age groups being held on the second day.

The event was very well organised with efficient registration procedures, marker buoys easy to identify, lots of water safety and medical services.

With no injuries or illnesses leading into the event, I was able to put together a good block of training in the lead up to the event.

This, along with my experience in Surf Life Saving and ocean swim events enabled me to have success, winning the 45- 49 years age group in a very tight finish – 3 tenths of a second was very close, especially over that distance!!!.

After the championships I was very fortunate to travel with a small group of other swimmers to a place on the western side of Italy called Cinque Terre.

It is easy to get there by train, a great way to get around Italy.  Here there are five ancient fishing villages set in some of the most beautiful coastal scenery.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the clear and warm waters made swimming conditions perfect for when we visited there in June, arguably the best time to visit before the busy tourist season starts in July.

These five places date back to the medieval period with Monterosso being the oldest one.  It was found in AD643.  The other towns are Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.  Many people visit here to hike over the scenic, steep terraced cliffs.  The trails have been around for over five centuries.

We decided to have a unique adventure and had a leisurely swim between each of the villages, taking in the amazing sites and having an opportunity to get close to the marine life.

One of our group members caught the train and met us at the next town.  She carried all of our bare essentials- towel, sunscreen, shirt, a small amount of cash, fluids and some fruit.

We took our time and did a swim from Monterossa to Vernazza, a relaxing one hour break and quick look around the town, followed by swimming from Vernazza to Corniglia on the first day (approximately 3 kilometres on each leg).

On the next day we did an easy swim from Corniglia to Manarola with a short break and then to complete the journey, we swam to Riomaggiore (approximately 2 kilometres on each leg).

Our accommodation was based in Monterossa and we caught the ferry back to there on the first day and the train on the second day (both are short journeys).

This was a perfect way for a group of swimmers to check out the local area and made the holiday very memorable.

If you ever get the opportunity to go to Italy, especially if you are an Open Water enthusiast, I would highly recommend that you visit this beautiful part of the world.

Beneath The Waves By Bondi Mermaids

Most beach-goers that visit Bondi will never know the beauty that lives below the waves.

There’s so much happening above the waves that it’s easy to forget the other world that lives below.

Blue Gropers are known to become a part of the community

The Bondi Mermaids are a group of the Sydney community that want to highlight that there are no ‘passive use’ marine areas in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

This video gives you a fantastic insight into the marine life that lives in Bondi and the Eastern Suburbs and highlights the plight of the Bondi Mermaids in trying to create 3 areas of ‘passive use’ similar to Cabbage Tree Bay in Manly.

Currently you can fish 100% of the eastern suburbs which neglects passive users who want to see diverse, mature and abundant marine life.

You can find out more about Bondi Mermaids and sign the petition on their website

Upper Body Conditioning For Board Paddling Support Crew

If you’re looking at taking your ocean swimming to the next level and tackling ocean swims of 5km plus you may find you need a support crew.

Depending on the swim, support crews can be made up of a ski/kayak paddler, board paddler and/or boat support.

If you’ve been asking around trying to find a friend to paddle alongside you during your marathon swim, and you’ve come up with a keen friend who’s a little out of shape you’re going to want to make sure they’re conditioned to make it the whole way with you!

In this blog Bondi Rescue lifeguard and volunteer surf sports coach Anthony ‘Harries’ Carroll shares a few exercises board paddlers can do in the gym, beach or home to condition their body for board paddling.

Some notable ocean swims that require a support crew are:

Functional movement patterns for board paddling

The exercises demonstrated below are designed to mimic the ideal board paddling technique.

You’re trying to focus on the most important action which is the catch & grab. This is where all the work is done and where you need to build your strength.

Use these exercises to:

  • Mimic the techniques & body position of board paddling
  • Become more confident to paddle
  • Gain increased stability and control
  • Develop strength and endurance

Include specific board paddling exercises into your regular exercise program at least twice a week, and core stability exercises 2-3 times a week, for 6 weeks in the lead up to the event.

Engage the core

When performing these exercises you need to ‘turn on’ your core muscles. Core muscles reside in the area of the stomach and the mid and lower back (not the shoulders). To engage your core pull your stomach up and in.


Straight arm pull down (Beginner)

Strengthening exercise to work the Lats.

  • Start standing with shoulder-width arms and legs two steps away from machine.
  • Use palms down grip on bar.
  • Slightly bend your torso forward at the waist and fully extend your arms. While keeping arms straight, pull the bar down by contracting the lats until your hand are next to the side of your thighs. Breathe out as your perform this step.
  • While keeping your arms straight, go back to the starting position whil breathing in.
  • Repeat for 14 repetitions. Complete 3 sets.

Straight arm pull down (Intermediate)

To take straight arm pull downs to the next level you can incorporate an exercise ball.

The action performed is the same as for the beginner exercises, however this time you will balance on an exercise ball on your knees paying extra attention to turning on your core muscles and stabilizing yourself on the ball.

3 sets of 14 reps. Replicate the board action by a fast down pull (1 sec) and slow (4 sec) recovery.


Exercise Ball Push Up (Intermediate)

Here’s an advanced chest exercise based on the classic beginner level push up (which you can also do).

The exercise ball push-up requires an advanced level of upper body fitness and it will call on just about every upper body muscle in order to maintain balance on the unstable surface.

  • Begin by placing you hands on the ball about shoulder width apart and your feet together on a similar level solid surface in a ‘plank’ position.
  • Once in position, keeping your back straight, slowly lower your upper body until the chest touches the ball.
  • Slowly push up to the starting position, exhaling as you push up.
  • 3 sets of 14 reps.


Barbell Ab Rollout (Beginner)

This exercise works primarily the abs, and also the lats, shoulders and lower back.

  • Start in a kneeing position with the barbell in front of you.
  • Bending at the wasit, grip the barbell with a shoulder width overhand grip.
  • With a slow controlled motion roll the bar out so that your back is straight.
  • Keep you arms straight throughout the exercise.
  • Roll back up to a kneeling position.
  • 3 sets of 14 reps.


Bench exercise band board paddle

This exercise uses a rubber exercise band to provide resistance while mimicking the natural board paddling technique. This can be performed in the gym or anywhere you can set up a bench with place to connect band in front.

Tip: See if you can set up your board on a bench!

  • Ensure your body position best replicates your position on a board.
  • Start with your arms square with your elbows at 90 degrees at the ‘catch’ phase.
  • Maintaining your shape push through with palms, pulling through with lats.
  • At the end of your pull prepare for recovery phase then maintain shape in recovery into your catch.
  • 3 sets of 14 reps.


Same exercise without bench:

Important notice: Before you attempt any of these exercises ensure you have been given the ok by a registered medical practitioner and seek advice from a registered fitness professional.

Complete Eastside Radio Surf Safety Interview Series

Sit back, grab a coffee and listen to OceanFit’s Andre Slade discuss a range of surf safety topics with Dan from Eastside Radio.


In this Eastside Radio Interview Andre from OceanFit talks about Rip Currents. What are they? How do you spot them? and How to you survive one?


In this Eastside Radio Interview Andre from OceanFit talks about Ocean Anxiety. What is it? What causes it? How can you overcome it?


In this Eastside Radio Interview Andre from OceanFit talks about Sharks. Should you be concerned? When is the best time to swim?


In this Eastside Radio Interview Andre from OceanFit talks about Beach Weather. Learn about what influences ocean conditions and when are the best times to swim at the beach.


In this Eastside Radio Interview Andre from OceanFit talks about The Ocean Responsibility Code. Learn the inspiration behind the The Code and the positive guidelines it promotes so you can enjoy a fun and safe day at the beach.

Read the full Ocean Responsibility Code here


In this Eastside Radio Interview Andre from OceanFit talks about Family Beach Days. Get simple beach safety advice for the whole family and a handful of really helpful tips to make your family day at the beach fun and safe.

6 Ocean Swimming Products I Couldn’t Do Without

Given I have been ocean swimming (albeit more recreationally than in events) for most of my life, and more recently as the owner of OceanFit teaching up to six hours a day at the beach, I spend a lot of time at the beach.

There’s six ocean swimming products I swear by, on top of various swimsuits, that I just couldn’t live without when it comes to visiting the beach, and enjoying my ocean swimming. They just make things easier, more comfortable and fun!

Wetsuit Top

When you’re spending a lot of time in the water it’s always great to be able to keep warm. Wearing just a wetsuit top is a great way to keep your upper body core warm but still keeping the lower body free. The increased buoyancy also helps make swimming easier and if you’re teaching it allows you to float well while instructing. I wear a T1 Wetsuit Top and when it’s really cold, or I’m staying in the water for extended periods of time I wear Blueseventy full wetsuits – If you’re predominately swimming you need to buy swimming/triathlon wetsuit brand.

External Key Lock

Never again do you have to worry about leaving your car keys or valuables on the beach while you swim. With this mini lock-up safe you can lock your valuables in the car (or scooter as is sometimes the case with me), then lock the car keys in the lockup safe which has a pin code. I use this every day and sometimes even use it at home when I’m heading out for a run – you just lock it to the fence outside. The brand I use is KeySafe.


Googles are a must for ocean swimming. And I’m not talking about the pair you bought 2 years ago which you are lovingly holding onto – throw them out. Get yourself a new pair of googles and replace them regularly. A good pair of goggles will let you see above and below the water and experience all that’s amazing about the marine environment. I wear Vorgee Missiles, they’re the best surf swimming goggle I’ve come across – they won’t come off when dolphin-diving or bodysurfing. There are other great open water swimming goggles too – like the polarized Osprey from Vorgee.


If you’re spending a lot of time outside you need to be wearing sunscreen, if you’re ocean swimming you need good waterproof sunscreen. Buy a few tubes and leave one in your swim bag, car, home etc that way you’ll never be without it. I use a funky sunscreen called Sunpouch, it comes in cool little ‘pouches’ with designer prints so they look good in your bag too!

Swimmers Ear Spray

If you’re swimming a lot, and particularly if you’re swimming in the ocean in dodgy water (who can wait a few days after rain, really?) then you’ll want to protect your ears. Other than drying them out after your swim you can help prevent and relieve symptoms of swimmers ear with over the counter ear sprays. I just happen to use Audiswim which is a micro spray – it basically evaporates the water in your ears.

Plastic Tub

This is a new item for me this year, when I ran a clinic at Thirroul SLSC at the start of summer all the nippers had them and I thought they were fantastic. Basically they’re a large plastic tub with handles, they’re better than bags in that they don’t leak water when you throw your wet items in it. I like them so much I have 3 in the back of my car. They’re also great for lessons because you can spot them amongst the crowd when you’re hunting for your stuff!

Disclaimer: No brands have paid to be mentioned in this article. I just use them.