Sea swimming essentials that might come in handy if you decide on finally taking the plunge.
Thinking back on the past few years, it can sometimes be hard to find high points to focus on. It hasn’t necessarily been plain sailing and there were definitely times when the grey clouds seemed like they’d never let up. But as is often the case, hindsight is 20/20 and one thing I’m thankful for is the sea.
While the phenomenon of sea swimming is nothing new – we’ve been watching people brave the ice-cold waters for years – something does seem to have changed lately. There has been a universal (or at least nationwide) shift in attitude and where once we looked on in horror, now the sight of someone wading out until they’re fully submerged makes us jealous that we’re not joining them.
Maybe lockdown is to thank for our newfound appreciation of the small things, maybe it’s following online accounts extolling the virtues of a quick dunk in the sea… maybe it’s a combination of both. The reasoning doesn’t necessarily matter, what’s important is that we now know what we’ve been missing out on all these years… and with the recent bout of good weather, many have realised that there’s never been a better time to hop in the sea.
Having spent the large majority of my childhood living in landlocked Longford, some might say that I missed out on the formative sea swimming years, but to those people, I say, “Not so!” Like most things in life, discovering the things you enjoy takes time. The saying goes that there are plenty of fish in the sea, but there is plenty of space too – so throw on your togs and get out there.
Not quite sure what one might need for their first sea swim? Here are a few essentials I’ve found to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
Naturally, a good swimsuit is number one on the list… unless you plan on frequenting The Vico and going in completely starkers that is. In which case, more power to you. If you’d rather a bit of a material barrier between you and the sea, investing in a long-sleeved swimsuit should be of top priority.
Granted, you may not think that they look very cool, but swim socks are an absolute game-changer. Hard to say if it’s a placebo or not, but having your feet covered really does make you feel warmer. Happy feet = happy humans.
The topic of much conversation in South County Dublin, dryrobes have become a somewhat disputed addition to the sea swimming essentials list. Dubbing them “fancy fleeces”, an article published in The Guardian two years ago seemed to suggest that the new must-have accessory caused a bit of tension between old-timers and newly-initiated sea swimmers. While I won’t weigh in on that debate, I will say this – as someone who is eternally cold, the thought of stepping out of the water into what is essentially a wearable sleeping bag appeals to me endlessly.
The post-swim treats are as key to the experience as the actual attire. A little bit of forward planning will enable you to pull together a few bits to ensure your cold hands have something warm to wrap themselves around once you emerge from the sea. Pack a flask of tea/coffee/hot chocolate, pick up some pastries en route, et voilà – you have yourself a pretty great picnic.
I’m not quite sure how reincarnation works, but if given the choice, I want to come back as a dolphin in my next life.
We may earn a commission if you buy something from any affiliate links on our site.