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Preparing for my Open Water Swim

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

Open water swimming can add a fun and interesting dimension to your swimming journey. It is important to prepare well for your swims as you will essentially be in the wild!

Why do open water swimming?

What equipment do I need?

Which wetsuit?

Why do open water swimming?

Safety first! Being a competent open water swimmer can help you be safer and enjoy a variety of other activities involving water such as coasteering, kayaking, sailing, surfing, wake boarding/surfing to name a few that are popular in Hong Kong.

Whilst cooler, winter is a great time to do open water swimming in Hong Kong. The water tends to be clearer, there is less marine traffic and the jelly fish haven't appeared yet.

What equipment do I need?

The Bare Minimum:

  1. Swim suit - self explanatory.

  2. Goggles - any good fitting goggles will do (see our guide on goggles here) but for those that start swimming regularly you may want to consider the time of day you are swimming. Try a clear pair for when it is darker and a tinted pair for when it is sunny.

  3. Buoy - this personal safety device not only helps make you more visible to others (important so that boats don't run you over), it can act as a floatation device should you need a little help. A good one will have a whistle attached so that you can attract attention. Decathlon is a good place to purchase these buoys - I personally like the 500 litre size as it also acts as a dry bag so I can carry my phone and a bottle of water too.

Other Recommended Items:

  1. Swim cap - keeps hair out of your face and can keep your head warmer in winter.

  2. Wetsuit or Rash guard - weather dependent: wetsuit to keep you warm / rash guard to prevent sun burn. More on the wetsuit below!

  3. Vaseline - to help prevent wetsuit chaffing.

  4. Fins - to help you swim faster or longer distances or incase you are feeling a little tired.

Which wetsuit?

You will find that an open water wetsuit as opposed to a surfing wetsuit will be significantly easier to swim in.

Open water wetsuits designed for you to move your body freely. The material used tends to be light and flexible especially around the upper back, shoulders, knees and hips.

Wetsuits make you more buoyant, helping you to improve your body position so that you can swim more efficiently. And in case of fatigue, can help you float with ease. They will protect you from jelly fish stings and other small nippy marine life. And of course, they keep you warmer - wetsuits can range in thickness from 1mm to 5mm.

I am using 1.5mm thick Speedo wetsuit that was purchased from Decathlon. Other good open water wetsuit brands include Orca, you can find these for purchase at Escapade; and Jaked.

Ultimately though, any wetsuit or thermal wear will do to give you the above benefits!

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