About half an hour into teaching the theory session in our Learn to ocean swim clinic, I tend to stop and joke with participants.
“There’s not much to remember is there?!”
It’s a bit of a dig at just how much there is to learn about the ocean and open water swimming – how could you possibly remember it all?
We use OceanFit’s 4 Pillars of Ocean Swimming to explain the journey of becoming an ocean swimmer. You can listen to me describe the pillars to Marc West on this episode on his The Pod podcast from 4:07.
With so much to think about while taking on the ocean, I’ve developed a fun way to help you remember some of the very basics.
I use very memorable names for actions you should take, techniques you should use, and things you should avoid. Here’s a few of them you might like to remember next time you’re swimming in the surf:
Stay in control while standing facing the waves in the inshore zone by adopting a strong sideways stance, one foot in front of the other, weight on the front foot (clenched fists up & strong gaze forward into the eyes of the waves for effect).
A streamlined body position, with your hands out in front and head tucked ‘down, down and away!’ is your default position when swimming (or ‘flying’) through waves.
Walk Like An Egyptian
When exiting the water, ‘do the sand dance don’t you know’ by walking semi-sideways, looking back (to the waves) and forward (to the beach) until you reach the sand to avoid ‘falling down like a domino’, or ending up on…
Kook = Beach slang for ‘clueless’, so Kook Slams are therefore where kooks get slammed, in this case, by not seeing an oncoming wave that ends up dumping on you, and/or knocking you over. The hashtag is an unflattering memorial, so keep your eyes on the waves!
When resurfacing from a dive under a wave, ensure you ascend on a gradual streamlined incline towards the surface, avoiding a fast steep ascent that will have you breaching the surface like a whale.