Open water swimming is having a nationwide renaissance of sorts the last few years on Anglesey. People are turning back to nature to get the exercise and connection with the water. Wild swimming is an amazing way to immerse yourself in nature, exercise your body and mind, and explore new beaches and locations on Anglesey.
Swimming is a fairly simple sport, but there are some important pieces of equipment that you need to ensure that you stay safe, visible and warm when swimming in open water.
Open water swimming apparel and equipment have seen a huge change in the past decade. There has clearly been a lot of R&D development going on in the open water swim wetsuits and other equipment, which is rather amazing to see.
In this blog we will go over some swim apparel that I have my eye on, I know my swim kit could do with a bit of an update so I have been trawling the internet, speaking to friends and swimmers and companies,which I like both ethically and through swimming reputation. These are the items I’ve shortlisted through many hours of research based on a beginner open water swimmer with an average budget.
I can honestly say, that I have had dryrobe envy for about a year now. I have been swimming during the winters all over Anglesey undressing on the beach in my shorts, woollen jumper, and gloves in the cold winters too many times and it has been bracing.. But not this winter, I’ve splashed out! My urges got the better of me, wanting to get prepped for the winter swims here, so I got my hands on a new dryrobe.
To say I’m happy is a slight understatement., They are a very well thought out swim accessory, that has an essential place in my life. It’s basically perfect for what I need on the beaches of Anglesey all year round. I opted for a large red one so my fellow swim buddies could see me a long way off on those dark winter mornings. Fleece lined with deep pockets, and long enough to even keep my runner’s legs warm, it’s all you require in your swim outfit.
The clever bits are in the details though…..A massive fleece lined hood, for howling winter storms, big over sized zippers for cold fingers, super tough waterproof fabric, for less than gentle users (like me). Another sweet detail are the large Velcro cuffs, which, to me, are a huge win. It’s pretty much sculpted for Welsh winter swimming sessions, well done to the team at Dryrobe they have done a sterling job on their apparel, absolutely love it, I’m a convert. It will undoubtedly bring much warmth to my life this winter.
You can also purchase summer towel dry robes, short sleeved dry robes, long sleeved dry robes and animal accessories for the beach. See here.
I have used a few wetsuits during my triathlon competitions over the years, but since starting watersports again I had friends who recommended the brand HUUB to me, which was a bit of a revelation. Huub is a premium endurance sport and wetsuit brand. They specialise in swimming wetsuits and accessories as well as triathlon equipment. They are very focused on their products with many olympic podium athletes representing their brand.
There are a number of local swimmers using HUUB swimwear that I know of in North Wales, one of whom is training to swim the channel right now. He gave me a lowdown on the swimkit he uses. He is a HUUB branded swimmer, so he knows his stuff. I have leaned on his expertise to help gather my next swim outfit, here is a list of his kit (Thanks Dan!)
A very nice wetsuit for open water swimming and triathlons alike. Huub are well known for their competitive edge on the wetsuit front. The flexibility and stretch in them is second to none. Considering Dan is going to swim the channel in this wetsuit, he has to be in the wetsuit a lot of time during training, which means it needs to be right. It provides perfect buoyancy in the water and flexibility on the stroke front.
Great for summer use when a full wetsuit is just way to retain warmth in the 12c waters. They provide fantastic buoyancy when you are putting in the miles. Dan uses these in both the sea and lake swims. I’m looking to get my hands on some. As the wetsuit-less swims feel so free yet the shorts provide you with plenty of buoyancy for safety during summer months.
It’s super important to have one of these tow floats, not only for buoyancy but for visibility too. It keeps others aware of your presence. A visual flag is super important for others to see where you are. I love both these styles that HUUB offer Orange for summer and Yellow for winter.
A swim cap is also super important for visibility, HUUB conveniently do a few different colours in their range, Dan uses the black one, I prefer the orange one again for visibility.
If you need a swim bag for your open water equipmet, then here is one Dan uses from HUUB, bag for your swim sessions.
What else is in my open water swimming bag
Aquashphere goggles are a firm favourite of mine, sometime I opt for the tinted lenses sometimes I like the clear ones.Reef sandles are my favourite beach wear items in the summer. From May until October you will find me in them daily, actually if the truth be known I’m in the all year round!
If we are talking winter months, then a flask of coffee or herbal tea at the beach to warm you up is a must. I love Stanley as a brand, always have. They have been bomb proof.
I have used Cressi gloves for spear fishing and coasteering for years, they have served me very well indeed, I always have a pair to hand and I love them.
Cressi wetsuit boots, I have gone through a few pairs in the past 5 years but, they are a great item and (I give them a hard life) Great to protect your feet from the rocky shores as you walk in to the water. They have been super good for me inside my fins to make them more comfortable.
I always have a micro finer towel in my bag, they pack down super small, don’t weight much and dry super fast too, I love them.
I have for years been using Organic, natural sunscreen, if you knew what normal sunscreen contains you wouldn’t put it on your skin (Note : I work in the oil industry, I know the downstream products they sell to ppl!) Choose organic.
Ear plugs, sometimes I use them if its really cold in winter, or if I’m cliff jumping. Summer I don’t need them as the water is warm. If you can get some with a laniard thats even better.
Thermal rash vests are a must if your just getting into the swing of cold water in winter, they are like fleece lined tops that keep you warm doing a dip if the wind id also cold. I don’t use them much anymore but when I was starting they where great.
Garmin digital watches have changed there game for me, I mostly use my Forerunner 735XT for running but you can adapt it for swimming with a chest band you can buy, (Its on my list!). The watch in the image is the one I own. You connect it to your phone via the Garmin Connect app, its brilliant. This is one of the top end models, but you can various sorts. Im able to show my run with gps map, speed, elevation, pace, HR, VO2, cadence.. I could go on! Its one of the most cool bit of equipment I have used in the past two years. You can also download a custom digital face in Garmin IQ app to suit your preference. Tip get a glass protection face cover ..I didn’t and I’m regretting it!
The Garmin chest strap for swim session is how you map your vitals whilst out on the water. A useful addition to the Garmin kit base \ for timing your open water swims if your of a competitive persuasion !
Aquapacks and dry bags are super super useful and keep your cars dry as you can put all your wet gear in them after a swim, conversely they keep everything nice and dry if there is a shower. I use them when going down the beach to carry my spear fish kit and swim kit to the shoreline.
Most of our phones these days are worth more than our laptops and have precious memories in them, make sure you keep them water tight, don’t go swimming with them ! A few friends of mine carry their mobiles with them when they swim, incase the get into bother. They swim with a sealable dry bag and carry their phone in a sealable case.
What blog would be complete without a set of cool beach shorts with sharks on? I really like these ones! …
Previous blogs on wild swimming in Anglesey & north Wales :
Big thanks to Dan Jones for allowing us his expertise and photos in the blog. You can follow Dan on his Instagram below and read about him in the next blog. We will introduce you to Dan in another blog and his Global plastic quest channel swim.
Dans Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/oneglobalocean/
Cover image by :
Ioan Shah – Instagram Bio–
Website : reeladventure.co.uk
Tan Y Tro Nesaf / Until the next time,
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