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

Ocean Swimming Training Tips For Beginners

Ocean swimming can be a very enjoyable and rewarding sport if we choose to follow some basic training principles. An awareness of the ocean swimming training tips below will not only increase your individual fitness levels, but also reduce the risk of injury and over training.

These factors will allow us to gain more satisfaction out of the sport whether we are competing at a social, recreational, semi-competitive or competitive level.

This information is based on a combination of sports science research and my own personal experiences.

Paul Lemmon’s 7 Ocean Swimming Training Tips For Beginners

1. Warming up

It’s important to commence a training session with a proper warm up. A warm up increases the blood flow to the working muscles. This increases the body’s core temperature which will improve muscle performance.

More specific stretching exercises are optional depending on the individual’s needs and previous injuries after the warm up so there is less risk of injury during the main part of the training session.

When the training is going to contain shorter, faster repetitions the warm up should also contain some controlled speed work.

2.  Listen to your body

Do not overdo each training session. In the long term this can produce injuries and a lot of tiredness.

Mood changes, headaches, depression and difficulty in sleeping are four indications of too much training.

3. Goal Setting

Set yourself individual short and long term goals not only for ocean swim races you wish to participate in but also for training.

Follow your training schedule without having to push too hard.

Lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle, allowing for other commitments in your life like family, work and social.

Be realistic about the improvement you expect over a period of time and be aware of your limits to prevent too many disappointments.

4. Increase gradually

Increase the intensity and duration of your training program slowly each week.

Research has shown that your weekly distance should increase by no more than 10 percent.

Many injuries occur if you do too much, too fast, too soon.

5. Recovery

How you recover is crucial to ongoing success in sport.

After each training session eat high glycemic index (GI) foods within the first 30- 45 minutes as this is the optimal time for replenishing glycogen stores. High GI (quickly absorbed foods) include lollies such as jelly beans (handful), raisins, sports drinks (800mls) and muesli bars (3).

Ensure you are getting adequate sleep (between 8- 9 hours each night). If you have had a hard training session or ocean swim race on the day before, decrease the duration and intensity of the session on the following day.

Include at least one complete rest day (or two days if you feel you need it) each week in your training schedule.

6. Technique

Many ocean swimmers think that poor technique can be compensated for by an increase in weekly training distance and effort but this is not the case.

Technique sessions by swim coaches are never wasted. A knowledgeable observer or coach can help in recognising a faulty technique.

It is often worthwhile to join an adult or masters swim training squad so you can train under the guidance of skilled coaches. Attention to technique can help make big improvements, particularly if you are a novice ocean swimmer.

7. Skills

As well as training in the pool to improve your technique, it is important to swim in the ocean environment to get use to the variable conditions such as wave motion, sea temperature, tides, rip currents, etc.

It is recommended that at least two of your training sessions are done in the ocean each week. You can also improve your surf and ocean swimming skills dramatically by training with someone who has expertise in ocean swimming or a group of experienced people who can give you regular feedback. See: OceanFit’s Ocean Swimming Programs

The sport of ocean swimming means different things to different people, from finishing an event, gaining a certain place or winning. By following the above ocean swimming training tips we can maximise our enjoyment, healthy lifestyle and fitness in this great sport.

End Killing And Captivity Of Whales And Dolphins

In the summer of 2012-13 the Japanese Fisheries Agency announced the annual Southern Ocean whale hunt would be cut short after failing to meet the planned quota of minke whales to be killed for ‘research’.

Conservation activist and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson claimed a win for the organisation, which has harassed the Japanese fleet relentlessly, preventing harpoon boats from locating and killing whales.

Killing whales is an abhorrent act – especially on the systematic, industrial scale which Japan employs – and is something an enlightened, progressive society should condemn and strive to eliminate.

The Australian government has welcomed Japan’s decision and is currently mounting legal action against Japan through the International Court of Justice. The Japanese could see this as simply an attempt to assert sovereignty over the contested Antarctic and surrounding waters by a country which was happily whaling until 1978.

And while Melville’s romantic mythology of warriors battling on the high seas has been superseded by floating factories and a fleet of fast ships with exploding harpoons designed to inflict maximum damage upon its victims, there is a saying originally attributed to Mexican Revolutionary Emiliano Zapata and performed by the former federal environment minister’s old band which is appropriate:

It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees!

There are currently thousands of dolphins, including 42 killer whales, in captivity worldwide and over 30 dolphins in captivity in Australia. The industry is a big money spinner for their parent companies.

There is a claim that dolphins enjoy performing, and due to their strong will and intelligence, if they didn’t want to they would refuse. This is the same as the jumps racing lobby uses; ‘these horses love jumping’, they say. They usually leave out ‘with a jockey on their back whipping them’.

Social equity is also an issue used by advocates of keeping dolphins and whales captive; it gives people who do not own a boat, or live near the coast an affordable way of seeing and enjoying nature. Considering a lot of marine parks are in coastal cities this is a fallacy, and at a starting price of A$80 to Sea World (Australia) and US$73 to SeaWorld (San Diego, USA) an adult, this is simply an upper-middle class indulgence.

Shamu the whale being playful on the ground next to a pool.
‘Shamu’ performing at Sea World

As for enjoying nature, looking at the latest ‘show’ from the US SeaWorld the message seems to be ‘why bond with your kid on an amazing hike to an beautiful vista (for the cost of entry to a national park) when you can sit here and watch someone else do it? Oooh look! Shamu!’.

Shamu was SeaWorld’s first ever orca, caught in Puget Sound and sold to SeaWorld in the 60s and despite her death in 1971, Shamu is the name simultaneously given to all and none of the captive orcas used in SeaWorld shows.

As a child did you ever notice your pet goldfish swimming listlessly around the bowl not looking too good, only to find him happy and healthy (and perhaps larger, smaller, or a different colour) the next day? The same principle applies at SeaWorld. By keeping the name of the performing orcas the same, the issue of death in captivity – and death in general – can be completely avoided. Just like what your parents did when they flushed ‘goldie’.

But not everything marine parks do is ethically dubious or questionable, they are often called to the scene to tend to stranded, sick or distressed whales in the wild, and with a fleet of vets and cetacean specialists, can often nurse a whale back to health. The conservation or education components of each park range from non-existent to comprehensive and seem divorced from the actual showing of the whales to the public, which is often a highly choreographed rock and roll affair that Kiss would be envious of.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently had a lawsuit against SeaWorld dismissed in the US District Court. PETA claimed that keeping orcas in captivity is akin to slavery and a violation of the 13th amendment of the US Constitution. The lawsuit was a typical PETA stunt, designed to bring the plight of captive orcas onto the public agenda rather than be a serious legal challenge, and Judge Jeffrey Miller found that the 13th amendment does not apply to non-humans, but PETA point out that in the past, basic rights were denied to women, children and racial and ethnic minorities.

Our collective goal should be to add the job ‘dolphin trainer’ to that of ‘whaler’ as a throwback to a time when we as a species were completely ignorant of the complex social structure, culture and intelligence of whales and dolphins. If the Australian government feels it can challenge Japan over whaling in international waters, and legislate to arrest anyone it suspects of whaling, it should join PETA and other organisations and fight for the release of all whales and dolphins from captivity.

By Ken Meese
Ken is a passionate environmentalist, crusader and lover of the ocean.

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.