90 ocean swimming tips from our 2011 twitter campaign

During the 2010/11 summer season, Andre Slade delivered 90 day’s worth of ocean awareness, confidence and fitness tips throughout the ’90 days of summer’ – 1 December 2010 to 28 February 2011!

The tips were delivered by Twitter so they’re all within 140 characters as well!

OceanFit’s 90 ocean swimming tips:

  1. Learn to swim to survive. You’re never to young or to old to get started.
  2. Swim regularly. Swimming regularly helps you develop and maintain your swimming skills and basic fitness.
  3. Know your limits. Stay well within these limits until you’re confident your ability has increased to extend your limit.
  4. Get to know how the weather affects the conditions on your beach.
  5. If in doubt, stay out. If you’re hesitating it’s a sign that you’re best staying on the sand.
  6. Learn about Rip Currents. They can be both friend and foe so the more you know about them the better.
  7. Always swim with a friend. Not only is it more fun, but it’s safer too.
  8. Observe the conditions before entering the ocean. This is best done from an elevated position over at least 5 mins
  9. Be in control. It’s important to be in control when you’re in the ocean and not let the ocean take control of you.
  10. Respect the ocean. The Hawaiian watermen live by this motto for a very good reason.
  11. Keep warm. In cooler water temperatures wear a silicone swim cap (or 2) and keep moving.
  12. When standing in the wave zone do so with one foot in front of the other. It’s a great defensive and offensive stance.
  13. Before starting any ocean swimming sessions take the time to assess the high tide line for signs of stingers.
  14. Start your swim session with a short dry warm-up. Take a jog along the beach and then stretch your upper and lower body.
  15. Observe the ocean floor the first time you head into the water. Get a feel for where gutters, holes and sandbanks are.
  16. When running/wading into the water look above and below the water line to prepare yourself for what’s ahead.
  17. Look for a rip current close by to swim out through the wave zone faster. The current is outgoing and there are less waves.
  18. Look for shallow sandbars. It’s faster to wade/dolphin-dive over them than swim around them.
  19. Use your arms as much as your legs when wading. Get them both high and wide using your arms to drive your legs.
  20. A good pair of tinted or polarized (Vorgee) goggles will help you see better and reduce squinting while swimming outside.
  21. Make sure your goggles are fitted and feel comfortable before you hit the water. Stopping to adjust them breaks your rhythm.
  22. The run to the water is not to late to change your line. If a set arrives or a sandbank clears you can deviate to benefit.
  23. Look for an oncoming wall of water when you’re running/wading out which will bring deeper water to start swimming sooner.
  24. Over holiday periods you can reduce your swimming sessions as a treat but don’t wipe them out. Consistency is your friend.
  25. Practice wading and dolphin diving in different water depths so you’re always ready for what the ocean throws at you.
  26. Don’t leave your goggles in the sun or in hot places (like seat of car). The heat will warp them & they won’t fit properly.
  27. If training for an ocean swim mix longer (aerobic) sessions with shorter (anaerobic) sprint sessions for endurance & speed.
  28. Make the transition between wading & dolphin-diving smooth. Try not to stop & think about it – you’ll lose your momentum.
  29. Dolphin-diving isn’t just for getting under waves. It should be used in any water depth too deep to wade.
  30. Dolphin-dive with your body in a streamlined position and enter the water no greater than 45 degrees to maximise glide time.
  31. Head down to the sea-floor when you dolphin-dive under a wave to get below the wave turbulence. It’s calmer near the bottom.
  32. When dolphin-diving under a wave use your hands like anchors to grip the sea-floor, securing yourself while the wave passes.
  33. To resurface after dolphin-diving in shallow water bring one foot in front of the other and push off the sea-floor.
  34. When you resurface from a dolphin-dive get straight back into your swim stroke & add six ‘power strokes’ to get up to speed
  35. ‘Power Strokes’ are a set of normal swim strokes with more effort. Use to increase speed quickly to gain greater momentum.
  36. If there are two waves coming towards you close together while dolphin-diving you should stay under water till both pass.
  37. Learn how to float and tread water efficiently. Even if you think you can swim these skills could save your life one day.
  38. Create fog free goggles by spitting in them while dry to create a barrier on the lens. Rinse in ocean water before wearing.
  39. When changing in & out of swimsuit under your towel tie the towel high so the bottom is half way up thigh for easier access.
  40. Create a seamless transition to start swimming by using a big push off the sea floor as part of your last dolphin-dive.
  41. Change in & out of your bikini or 1-piece on beach by putting on a t-shirt without arms in sleeves & changing underneath
  42. When you surface from diving under a wave get in a couple of swim strokes before breathing to regulate your stroke again.
  43. If when you run into water your breathing rate is high start by breathing every 2 strokes till it settles then go to 3 or 4.
  44. White water is fill of air bubbles so look to swim in as much blue/green water as possible for better propulsion and speed.
  45. For waves that are peaking but haven’t yet broken, don’t dive too deep underneath. Just push through the top to save time.
  46. In huge surf when you’ve dived deep under a wave, look up to the surface on your ascent and aim for calmer water to surface.
  47. Waves that haven’t begun to peak should just be swum over the top of. It’ll feel like a ramp but just keep swimming.
  48. For waves that have peaked & are starting to break, push through the top 1/4 of the wave only. Add a dolphin kick for speed
  49. If you tend to get sea-sick when in the ocean, try to limit time floating in one spot – think ‘on the move off the mind’
  50. Look ahead & stay on course without compromising rhythm by lifting head forward at start of breath before rolling to side.
  51. Balance how often you look forward (or back) when ‘sighting’. To much disrupts rhythm, to little & you’ll stray off course.
  52. Before heading into the surf give rips a reference point on land so you can locate them from at sea & avoid them on return.
  53. Breathe bilaterally when ocean swimming so you can keep an eye out for waves when swimming parallel to beach.
  54. Feel for the ocean movements while you’re swimming & then become one with it by adjusting your stroke to ‘go with the flow’.
  55. Learn about the local marine life and ocean environment where you swim and you’ll get more enjoyment out of your swims.
  56. Swell’s will give you a ‘lift’ when swimming to shore. Get even more out of them by adding a few power strokes on the lift.
  57. When returning to beach look for where waves are breaking all the way to beach. You’ll be able to ride them all the way in.
  58. When returning to shore keep an eye out for waves coming from behind by looking back under your arm as you take a breath.
  59. Get a feel for the time between larger wave sets, then time your return to shore with a large set to get the most benefit.
  60. Use backstroke intermittently when returning to shore for an extended look behind you for waves without compromising speed.
  61. When returning to shore to finish an ocean swim race ’empty the tank’, there’s no need for your energy once you’re on shore.
  62. Learn about wave periods and wave sets because understanding them will assist in your decision making in the wave zone.
  63. Get added distance from swell line ‘runners’ when returning to shore by adding a few power strokes as they pass beneath you.
  64. If there’s a wind chop on the ocean surface adjust your breathing to breathe away from the wind.
  65. If you get caught in the crash zone in big surf while returning to shore face out to sea and dive under waves.
  66. When returning to shore you can ‘sight’ behind you to look for waves by looking back under your armpit as you take a breath.
  67. When swimming through the wave zone you can work out you’re in the wave crash zone by stirred up sand and seaweed.
  68. Get extra time to scout for waves to bodysurf on your return to shore without losing speed by flipping over & backstroking.
  69. Look along the wave line while looking for a wave to catch, if they’re breaking to the side of you then head towards there.
  70. Judge on your return to shore whether waiting for a wave to catch is going to be faster than swimming the whole way in.
  71. Swimming onto an unbroken wave that’s about to break is your best option for body surfing from the back of the surf zone.
  72. To prepare to swim onto an unbroken wave, increase your stroke rate, kick hard, take a deep breath and keep your head down.
  73. Catching unbroken waves, when you feel it take hold of you start to stroke with one arm, keep the other stiff and in front.
  74. Catching unbroken waves, when you’re completely on the wave stop your swim stroke and get into a streamline position.
  75. Remain as stiff as a surfboard when bodysurfing, tighten up all your core muscles and stretch your whole body long.
  76. If you’re dumped by a wave while bodysurfing, remain stiff and long and kick hard to get to the front of the wave again.
  77. Bodysurfing with your arms stretched out in front is best for both safety and for creating a long streamline body position.
  78. If you find yourself falling off the back of a wave you’ve been bodysurfing, start swimming again to ride the last of it.
  79. For a clean exit at the end of large waves you’ve bodysurfed you can actually tumble turn out of them to finish.
  80. The less number of times you have to breathe while bodysurfing a wave the less chance you have of falling off it.
  81. Keeping your head tucked well inside your outstretched arms while bodysurfing will keep your body straighter.
  82. A good way to know when to stop bodysurfing & start dolphin-diving/wading is when your stroke arm hits the sea floor.
  83. If your goggles have filled up with water while bodysurfing, leave adjusting them until you’re out of the water and running.
  84. Leave the beach with less sand in your swimmers after a bodysurfing session by walking out from deeper water to finish off.
  85. Don’t treat bodysurfing like a holiday from swimming, to get the most out of the wave you’ll need to put in 100% effort.
  86. For streamlined dolphin-dives think in order “hands, head, shoulders, hips, knees, feet”, enter like an ‘n’ exit like a ‘u’.
  87. Cramping: Reduce by stretching, hydrating & not overdoing it. Treat by alerting a swim partner then floating and stretching.
  88. To reduce chafing when swimming, apply generous amounts of Vaseline to the areas most prone: your armpits and inner thigh.
  89. Get water out of your ears by holding nose & blowing out, jumping on 1 foot while shaking head or use over the counter products
  90. Ocean swimming is a lifetime of learning. Watermen maintain respect & empathy by always learning about, and from, the ocean.
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