I saw frost on the roof the other morning so that must mean it’s “California Winter” and Christmas is shortly upon us. With that here’s my annual swimmer xmas list for those of you at a loss for what to buy your swimmer. Some of the list consists of things I already have, and some I just want to have. Feel free to buy me anything on the list in appreciation of a blog well blogged this year… I wear a 36 if anyone is asking, haha :)
Also… while you’re out shopping if you happen to use SwimOutlet do me a favor and visit them through swimoutlet.com/robaquatics, I get a little commission when you do and it helps keep the lights on and whatnot :)
New suits are always a winner. They wear out, they get boring, and it’s nice to add a few new ones to the rotation. Personally I enjoy obnoxious drag suits, but a jammer or banana hammock would be just as well for your swimmer… on the ladies side I have no idea what the suit differences are, you’ll have to do your own preference investigating there, but I do know what I like aesthetically so here’s some new favorites.
GoPro HD Hero2 Camera
The new version of the GoPro Hero came out just recently and I’ve been lusting after it pretty hard. I’m hoping this will be the waterproof camera I can’t break! Since it’s a sport orientated device there’s all sorts of mounts and straps and accessories available for different purposes. I want the surf pack so I can attach it to my boogie board and film my wipeouts down gnarly wintertime wave faces! You can pick up an HD Hero2 direct from GoPro here.
If you saw my posts during “review week” not to long ago you know that I’m enamored with GPS devices and for right now the Garmin 310xt is my weapon of choice. Garmin has a new version out that sounds like a combination of a Swimsense and a GPS unit but I’m yet to see one in the wild and have no idea if it’s worth the $400+ or not. You can pick up a 310xt from SwimOutlet here and see my review here.
Blurb Custom Books
I made one of these a few months back and absolutely love it. I got to make a glossy paperback picture book made of my own photos, super rad and not really all that expensive. I think I paid $30ish delivered. You can check out the book I made and even buy it if you want to here, but I would strongly suggest making your own by going here. The process is fairly simple, you download Blurb’s software. Drag and drop and upload pictures, fill in some blanks and voila… book! I spent a couple hours one night putting mine together, picking the pictures was tougher for me than formatting the book.
Hate the smell of chlorine? I do. Although some swimmers enjoy that Eau de Chlorine aroma, I prefer to smell like salt and sunshine… not pool chemicals. The idea behind Swim Spray is to neutralize the chlorine smell and let you smell like a regular person again. Swim Spray sent me a bottle a while back and I undertook some extensive scientific testing that consisted of making my girlfriend smell me pre and post shower to determine how much it cut the pool smell. Her verdict, it works. If you only use the spray it leaves a light scent of its own, but once you soap up over the top of it it’s totally gone. You can get your hands on Swim Spray directly here
Everybody likes fins right? I mean I do… I only have like 13-14 pairs floating around the house right now :) A while back FINIS sent me some of their newest fins, the Positive Drive Fin (PDF) and the Zoomer Fit Fins. I’ve become very attached to my PDF Fins and have switched over to using them almost exclusively in the pool. They have a stiff, short round blade that allows for you to kick in all directions which means you can breaststroke in them even! The heel is open with the fin being held on with a strap. I find them pretty comfortable but if I wear them too long they can get a little uncomfortable on the back of my foot. You can get PDF Fins direct from FINIS here (use the code ROBAQUATICS09 at checkout to save 20%!).
The Zoomers Fit Fins are not for me, but they’re not meant to be. They’re aimed more at the fitness crowd not the competitive swimmer crowd. If you have a friend into mellow lap swimming or someone just starting to swim these would be a great fin for them. Soft, comfortable with a good amount of propulsion. You can get Zoomers Fit direct from FINIS here (use the code ROBAQUATICS09 at checkout to save 20%!).
Custom Swim Bags
My friends over at Splish, my favorite place for creative and custom suits, have also started to print up mesh swim bags. They have a small collection of bags they’ve designed but they also allow for custom prints. They sent me a super rad Rob Aquatics bag in November and I totally dig it. It looks great and it’s a good size for all my fins, goggles, bottles, etc for when I swim at the pool. The Rob Aquatics bag isn’t listed for sale on their site but I’m sure you could request one if you really need one :) Splish bags are available here.
Intelliskin sent me one of their compression shirts a couple months back and I’ve been using it a fair amount and really like it. I’d never previously been into the whole compression thing but some of my triathlete friends are all about it so I figured I’d give it a shot. The shirt they sent me is very nicely constructed and tight as hell! I have a hard time getting it on, but once it’s where it needs to be it pulls me into a better posture and takes some pressure off my chronically displeased lower back. I wear it most frequently to work just under my regular clothes. The shirt forces me to sit upright and not succumb to office chair slumpyness. The stuff from Intelliskin isn’t cheap, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen from them so far. You can buy shirts/shorts/sports bras from Intelliskin here
Want an adventure beard of your own but can grow your own luscious face carpet? Some enterprising knitters have found a solution… knitted hats with beards attached… genius! Although a knit beard probably isn’t FINA or Channel Rules legal, it’s probably still good for keeping your face warm in terrestrial environments. You can get yourself a fake beard over at Beardhead.com.
I’m still waiting for someone to buy me one of these along with the airfare to the BVI… please? somebody? :) This would probably be the greatest swimmer gift of all time so if you’ve got the money to burn I recommend you book two spots and go play with my buddy Hopper in the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean. You can get more info on SwimVacation here
I already have one of these so I don’t need one, but I’d like to be able to give them to my friends that are way too fast for me! I’m thinking if I could strap one of these on Evan we might finally be able to have a similarly paced ocean swim together :) The swim parachute really tugs at you, I was surprised at just how much drag it created the first time I used it. You can get Swim Parachutes direct from FINIS here (use the code ROBAQUATICS09 at checkout to save 20%!).
Swim Related Books
I like to read when I can, and I always dig reading good swimming related books when I can find them. A few of these I’ve read and really enjoyed like Jeff Comming’s Odd Man Out and Lynne Cox’s Swimming to Antarctica. Beth Barnes new book Escort and Lynne’s Latest South with the Sun are either on my list or in progress. I also tossed in the Island of the Blue Dolphins because it’s been a source of conversation amongst some of my open water friends. We all read it and loved it as kids, but now that we’re older and ocean swim focused realized it takes place in the Channel Islands off of Santa Barbara! I reread it just recently and it’s still an awesome book, a perennial favorite.