You look out in envy as they dive effortlessly under the waves and head for open water.
It looks so easy for them; nothing seems to faze them.
They’re the folks who meet up with their friends at the beach, take a leisurely swim behind the breakers, before catching a wave and body surfing back to shore with ease.
They’re the ocean warriors you see spending hours in the water, without fear of ever getting themselves into trouble and ending up on Bondi Rescue, or becoming one of the 20,000 people who need assistance from Australian lifeguards each year.
You marvel at their confidence to take on the big waves without fear, and you think to yourself, ‘There’s no way I could do that’.
But you can, and there are thousands of people just like you who are doing it every summer!
Riding a wave of popularity, and growing each year as a recreational activity and a sport, ocean swimming lets you break free from the black line of the pool and swim as nature intended.
Swimmers of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities, are enjoying taking on the elements and celebrating the once unimaginable.
So, how do you get started?
The great news is that you don’t need a great swimming base to start from.
You will, however, need to start swimming again, there’s really no substitution for that part. Get a few stroke correction lessons then hit the pool – lap swimming is boring but it’s a necessary evil.
When it comes to the ocean environment, you’ll get some quick wins by developing your ocean awareness and learning to read the ocean through the eyes of an ocean swimmer.
Swimming in your first rip current and realising they’re actually your friend will be an early highlight and confidence booster – and it won’t be the only myth that’s busted along the way.
Ocean swimming requires a number of unique skills; first up is learning to swim straight and navigate in the open water, then how to negotiate waves and body surf, to name a few.
From there it’s all about developing your surf sense, but that’s the fun part because it just means more ocean swimming.
Where can your new skills take you?
If you like the idea of setting a goal and participating in an organised event, ocean swims are held nearly every weekend throughout summer with local swims like the Bondi To Bronte and Coogee Island Challenge up there with the most iconic on the calendar.
Once you’re hooked, and you will be, the opportunities are endless, with ocean swims providing the perfect excuse to visit new beaches (and even join a local ocean swim group), explore incredible underwater marine environments and take on new challenges.
Summer is well and truly on its way, so join OceanFit to start your ocean swimming journey.
First published in The Beast.