Too Cold for a Swim...

Warm Gulf Stream water just offshore...UPDATE (02/02/2008)
Check out Lost in Hatteras for more including some action photos from the day.

Today was one of those days when the waves were perfect size and if the water was 20 degrees warmer... However, with water hovering around 45 degrees, if you were unfortunate to get separated from your gear, it could be a harrowing swim.

I took a nice hit by the beefy section of an overhead high peak on my initial slog out. The gear was gone and I was pummeled to the bottom for a spin in the rinse. 45 degree water initially feels kind of weird, in that, I did not feel cold, but my body/heart rate raced and the breaths were shallow. I was not trying to breath shallow, but that was what my body wanted to do. 30 seconds after surfacing, I calmed myself and began the swim towards my gear. My suit was working well and my body was warm, but only my exposed head, hands, and feet felt the chill. The key was to remain calm, and get to my gear. Eventually, I made it. After relaxing with the rig in the relative calm of the "Lounge" (the section between the surf zone and the inside shore pound), I composed, waterstarted, and successfully made it out. No more harrowing calls after that one, but I did sail conservatively to spend minimal time in the drink. The 60+ degree air felt great though while sailing.

All in all, Andy, Stewart, Caleb, and I enjoyed the winter wave sesh at the Boiler. 4.2m to 5.0m was the call. If only the water could have been 10 to 15 degrees warmer, it would have been perfect! The surf size was fun, with plenty of overhead high peaks, soft shoulders, and flat lanes between the sets for getting out. However, all of us were timid since a swim was something we did not want to take. Caleb did get adventurous, missed a wave aerial, and got worked by a follow on bomber. He said it was one of the sketchiest swims he ever had, and luckily Stewart was nearby to drag him into the beach since his rig was quite far away for the cold water swim. As his gear drifted closer to shore, he was able to swim out to catch it, but even that effort was risky!

All in all, cold water is not something to take for granted, especially if you have to swim after your gear. I think I prefer warm water and cold air, as compared to warm air and cold water, especially while wave sailing! We survived and are looking forward to the next session. Hopefully though, that 70+ degree Gulf Stream water, not far offshore, will make its way back towards the beach.

This 40+ degree ocean water complemented with fun sized surf is a bummer!

A few photos:

Andy M heading over the dune line at the Boiler

Andy M well suited up. Looks like its in between set waves