OPEN WATER SWIMMING BY STEPHANE KRAUSE
Stéphane Krause is one of our most loyal ambassadors. Great fan of board sports, he's presenting us today his favorite activity: open water swimming !
What is open water swimming ?
"Open water swimming is swimming in the sea, in a river or in a lake. Competitions are also organized in a natural environment. Even though I have done a few competitions, what I practice is more like what I do at sea or in the mountains, so open water swimming is a way to push my limits and to discover. I live it more as an adventure, I challenge myself solo. Physical effort and wonder have for me a strong bond and I like to do something different, as much by the physical and mental commitment as by the route ... The pleasure of opening "new paths" or of looking at the world from an offbeat point of view."
Why did you choose this activity ?
“I like to evolve and express myself in different spaces: Sea, Mountain, Air… So swimming is part of me. But it was after knee problems that kept me from running every day that I got more serious about swimming to stay in shape.
And since I like to surpass myself, I took on some solo swimming challenges.
Swim And Trek in Croatia in 2019, Tour of the Quiberon peninsula (25km) and crossing Belle-Ile Quiberon (17km) in 2020, swimming in storms and crossing Giens Porquerolles (3.7km) last March and recently the descent of the superb Ria d'Etel (13km).
Swimming in sea combines what I love : the physical and mental challenge, the analysis of the environment (weather, current, sea state…), adrenaline, exploration and wonder.
It satisfies my motto "in this world, outside the world"
When did you start swimming in open water ?
"I swam a lot when I was young but my favorite activities have always been board sports (windsurfing, surfing, snowboarding, skiing, sailing) combined with endurance sports (running, ski touring, mountain biking, paddle boarding).
I have been swimming regularly for 3 years and more intensely following my knee surgery in May 2020. The experience developed through these activities (strong wind and waves, risk management, development of physical resources and mental health) allows me today to challenge myself in swimming, long distance or swimming in strong conditions."
Which wetsuit for swimming in open water?
"To swim all winter in waters at 8 Celsius degrees and temperatures between 0 and 10 Celsius degrees, I used the Clovis wetsuit in 4/3mn
I'm very happy with it both in terms of keeping warm and technically. Swimming requires great mobility in the shoulders and this is the case with the Clovis wetsuit. To give you an idea, since January I have swam 271 km, 71 hours, I do an average of 38 arm cycles per minute ... so that's about 162,000 cycles, 81,000 movements per shoulder ... and it hasn't moved ! A good test for a wetsuit !
Directly after swimming, I use the Venturi neoprene jacket,easy to put on even with icy hands. It warms me up and protects me from the elements once I get out of the water and get home. From now on, the temperatures are increasing so I will soon switch to my Stan wetsuit in 3/2mn for cooler waters or use Noé or Marcel neoprene tops for warmer waters. "
What advice would you give to a beginner ?
“Swimming in open water, like any outdoor activity, involves risks depending on the conditions in which you evolve. So I recommend going gradually, both in terms of the choice of the spot and the conditions.
At the beginning, it is better to prefer a mild temperature, calm spots without wind and without current with quick escape routes on land in case of fatigue. The best way to start is to swim along a beach close to the shore.
For equipment, use a buoy to be visible and to rest when needed. I use wide glasses for more visibility. To swim for a long time in cold water, it is better to use a wetsuit adapted to the temperature of the water and very important, to have your ears covered (swimming cap, even neoprene cap in addition below). I do not use gloves or slippers, some do ... The body shakes a moment after swimming, this is normal, you have to cover yourself well ... I put on my neoprene jacket and a beanie directly.
Then, before venturing into more sensitive conditions and places like channels or rocky coasts, you need to be sure that you have a good physical level and the necessary knowledge.
Weather, currents, location identification, swell movements, maritime traffic ... I also recommend having already trained to swim for a long time in difficult sea conditions and to have learned to assess situations in relation to the level of risk .
As in the mountains, knowing how to assess the situation and stop because the conditions are too risky is synonymous with competence. In difficult conditions (cold, rough seas, wild coasts), even though I'm solo, most of the time I have someone watching me from the coast. "
Your next challenge ?
"I have a few ideas ... Always combining effort and discovery by highlighting beautiful places. I like islands, channels and capes ... ;)
And swimming in extreme conditions… so it will revolve around all of that. Can be challenges well prepared in advance such as the Tour de la Presqu'île de Quiberon or the Belle Ile Quiberon crossing or blows by seizing opportunities such as swims in storms or even the Giens Porquerolles crossing . So stay tuned…! "
Thanks to him for all those infos !
To follow Stephane Krause
Facebook @Stephane Krause
Site internet https://stephanekrause.com/
Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/skrause68
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