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Three Tough Night Surf Swims in a Row!

February 17th 2021

Causeway Coast

Charity AWARE

Swim Distances

Feb 16th 1.02km

Feb 15th 1.09km

Feb 14th 1.04km


THANK YOU FOR CONTINUALLY SHARING AND DONATING. Donations now over the £10,400 mark!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/al-mennie

AWARE https://aware-ni.org/


What currents and waves are you dealing with? Do you realise that you are always swimming in the currents and in the surf? You are actually probably much better at handling things in life than you maybe give yourself credit for. Take a step back and look at all the things you have come through and take pride in it because realising the battles you have won along the way is where confidence breeds and presents opportunity to grow further.


The past three nights have been really bad conditions. Good size surf, a heavy tide and no wind. Currents literally changing after every set of waves. (look at the charts below, chaotic compared to other recent charts)


Last night for example I swam against a current for a few minutes using the surf to rise me over it and climb over the current until I got across the bank next to the pier. Then I had a little flow with me. Next a huge rip formed and dragged me out. I continued to use the surf to rise me over and across the current. The trick is to make myself as big as possible. That way the surf hits me and moves me counter to the current which holds my ground more than if I went under the waves. Even for a second it helps cross the current a little more. Next I was into a flow against me. It was one thing after another but it was amazing! I feel far more alive when the conditions are chaotic. Its a real buzz to be out there below a huge starry sky in the dark surf dealing with all sorts of currents and waves. People ask if I'm scared. Fear often crosses my mind yes but the trick with that is much the same as dealing with the rip current. I use other elements to get me even a little bit ahead and that builds confidence and I keep going. If I just stayed put and accepted being a bit scared and froze, I'm not going to get ashore or get the distance done. Acceptance is a big thing when it comes to fear and the sea (which is easier said than done I know). Last night, at one point, I decided the current was too strong to swim against so I turned and began swimming back to the east. I knew I would most likely have to deal with the rip current again but that's ok, I can do that. I've done that a million times but yes every current and situation is different. The waves tend to break harder in rips, the current pushes against the swell and makes them dump with more force a lot of the time (contrary to most diagrams you might see actually). That's one of the first signs that I know there is a rip. The water often rises higher than the rest of the water around it breaking the sky line a little more. I ended up not having to deal with the rip as the current had again changed direction. I turned a second time as the current coming off a sand bank was just too heavy and it made sense to conserve energy.



Please if you are reading these blogs, use what I am doing to stay motivated. Keep active, get outdoors if you can and if you cant, open a window at the very least. The outdoors and exercise are great distractions from the world we are living through at the minute. I found a great resource that I think might be of interest to anyone who for some reason maybe cant get outdoors at the minute. Its called BBC Soundscape and you can listen to all sorts of sounds from the outdoors. Take a listen, it might be of use and or help during these times. https://canvas-story.bbcrewind.co.uk/soundscapesforwellbeing/

Remember to look at yourself and those around you for signs that may be of concern. Here is a link to some of the things to look out for on the AWARE website....

https://aware-ni.org/helping-someone-with-depression


Note. Do not take any information from this and expect to utilise it to deal with rips or currents every time. I am using over 30 years experience in the surf, its not as simple as I make it sound and it is never text book. Be wary of anyone trying to tell you otherwise.


NOTE - I apologise for not publicising when I am swimming as I know there are people who want to come and support me but we just cant risk it with covid and the regulations. I do post quite a lot on instagram so please follow along there, your support is greatly appreciated. It really spurs me on. I have a couple of people who are extremely experienced emergency responders so know that I am well looked after! I live extremely close (seconds away) to the beach but I cannot ask that any of you come down to support from further afield even though I know some of you reading this would like to and I would like to have you there.

Feb 16th Swim Through Darkness


Swim Through Darkness


Info - I am swimming a total of 100km through the darkness, in the darkest and coldest months of the year off the North Coast of Ireland. My aim...to inspire those who may be struggling in dark times to keep going. I also aim to raise awareness and funds for the depression Charity Aware. We all face dark times in life at some point and it can be extremely overwhelming.

Safety - Please don't think that because I am doing this that you too should do this or something similar. I am very experienced in the sea with knowledge that is only gained through many years of exposure to the sea in all her moods. I have a safety and location system in place including continual contact with people on land every time I swim.