01 October 2008

Claim Your Break

We did it!!! Hell yeah!!!

It all begin with the phone call I made last night. What did I say? "It's time." Time to claim our home break and do an open water swim out to the buoy. We've both been in the pool for months. We'd decided earlier in the summer that we would swim out to the buoy on a relatively flat day when it was hot. It had to be hot. Neither one of us wanted to wear a wetsuit. Well, summer pretty much came and went without us making the swim. I think we'd both decided it wouldn't happen. Then this heatwave hit. I realized it was now or never. My swim buddy was, as it turns out, thinking the same thing.

We met at the home break this morning. I'm not sure why we were nervous. Both of us were more than capable of making such a swim. I guess the trepidation comes from the fact that pools are easy. You spend your time watching the line below you until you reach the wall. Then you can either take a break or you can turn right back around and go. There are no breaks like that in open water swimming. No lines. No wall. No deciding in the middle of your workout that you're bored and will simply stop there. The ocean demands that you keep swimming even if you can't see anything.

First, the water was cloudy. That's not uncommon for Southern California. I wasn't too thrown off by that. Second, I couldn't seem to spot the buoy while I was swimming out to it. I'd swim a few strokes, lift my head, rinse and repeat. Nothing. Then I decided to simply tread water and look for it. I still couldn't find it. Even though it was a somewhat flat day, there was enough swell in the water to obscure the buoy. All I saw ahead of me were little waves. My swim buddy was having the same problem. Thankfully, her husband was paddling next to us on a longboard and we finally realized we could use him as our compass.

The swim was neither easy nor hard. I guess it was just different. Swimming in open water is nothing like swimming in a pool. It's better than swimming in a pool! I think it's a necessity if you're a surfer. We've surfed that break for years without ever having gone past the invisible line that separates the lineup from the rest of the ocean. My forays into the pool were inspired by my newfound understanding that a surfer should aspire to be a waterman or waterwoman. You've got to get more familiar and comfortable with the ocean, especially your home break. It makes no sense not to do so. And today we did just that.

I'm tempted to go back and do it again tomorrow!


At 10/2/08, 8:29 AM, Anonymous rmcveigh said...

Are you reading my mind? B/c this morning I thought...hmm...I could go out and swim that buoy again!!!

What an awesome day yesterday was...just awesome. I'm so glad we did it. YEEAAAHHH!!!! I could've yelled all day.

At 10/2/08, 10:23 AM, Blogger Surfsister said...

I had a small window after dropping Soul Brother #2 off at school. We headed back down to the home break. I was a little hesitant about doing the swim alone. Then, Nancy—surfboard on her head—said she'd do it with me. When I got to the shore, she came in. Then we did the swim together. Then she went back out to surf!

At 10/6/08, 11:56 AM, Blogger Jamie Watson said...

I can't believe I can comment on here now! Yay!!!! I just wanted to say hi and that is awesome about your open water swim. Wish I could go with you guys!!

At 10/6/08, 5:22 PM, Blogger SlowPolk said...

is time for a Tri

At 10/7/08, 1:21 PM, Blogger tres_arboles said...

Love the open water. As you say, it's way different from laps in a pool. Would that I could do my swims without a wetsuit; temps up here don't really allow it. The added buoyancy's a plus but you don't get the feel of the water in a tri-4/3.



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