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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Open Water Swimming With A Beard

Chafing is nearly always an issue for open water swimmers. Skin-on-skin, fabric-on-skin and hair-on-skin all cause chafing. But there is a special situation that requires a unique approach: beard-on-skin.

And there are few who are experts in this niche area like Rob Dumouchel.

"I may have taken swim bearding to a bit of an extreme, but my adventure beard is not without purpose. It's one part jellyfish filter and one part chafe avoidance system.

Part of the initial inspiration for my beard was to reduce chaffing on longer swims. I used to just have a goatee and the shaved portions along my neck and jaw line would chafe while swimming, so I decided to let it grow. Once it had a little length, no more chafing

And like many other portions of his nautical life, Rob has come up with some clever solutions and unique situations.

"I have applied lubricant to the rub points on my beard for certain swims like the Great Salt Lake Marathon Swim in Utah. The salinity of the water is extremely high there along with the potential for chaffing. I used Bag Balm around my neck and shoulders. The good news was that I didn't chafe at all, the bad news was 8+ miles later I had a solid salted Bag Balm-ed beard that took half an hour to wash out at the hotel after the race."

His advice?

"If you're going to be a bearded swimmer, a good conditioner is advisable so you don't end up with a dried out tumbleweed attached to your face from all the sun, salt and chlorine you encounter during your training. I'm currently using Mane & Tail which is sort of for horses, but pretty good for beards too."

Spoken like a thoroughbred.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

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An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

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