I got in a bit after 7 this morning. It was a beautiful morning in Avila Beach. It was 39°, calm and clear. There were a lot of people on the beach; 5 people surf fishing and two surfers, plus the dog walkers, which is a crowd for early on a February morning. I had planned on doing a big double triangle for about 4000M. I got in on the west side and got out between a fisherman and a surfer. Tom had said that on Thursday his toes were telling him that the water was below 50°.
As I was getting in the water felt about 50°- 51° but when I was swimming towards the creek mouth my arms were already starting to feel the cold. The water didn't look rough but there was a very choppy like swell that made the entire out lap a lot of work and gave me something else to try and think about. I measured the water temperature on my second pass by the end of the Avila Pier and had 9.5°C/49.1°F. I would have been disappointed if the temp was above 50° because it felt colder than it has been this winter.
At the end of the Avila Pier.
The swimming conditions are outstanding this time of the year as
long as you can deal with the water temperature.
Gear Report -
This is a good day to give my winter wetsuit and other gear a big thankyou.
I'm a cold water wimp.
In the summer I wear a Orca Openwater RS1 Thermal wetsuit which is warm, extremely flexible and comfortable to swim in. I add their Openwater Base Layer T-Shirt for another 1.2mm when the water temp gets close to 55° and I start feeling the cold more than I like.
Below 55° I switch to a Patagonia R3 3.5/4.5 surf suit. It even has knee pads. I've worn out 6 of these. They fit great and lets me keep swimming into the coldest water temperatures we see at Avila Beach. I was in the water for 93 minutes this morning and though I felt the cold I didn't get cold. If I had some nutrition with me I could have stayed in longer.
The Orca and the R3 cost about the same.
I add a Orca neoprene cap below 55°
I always wear Aqua Sphere Vista goggles which have two big advantages over pool or tir goggles: the have a big field of view which makes finding my landmarks easy and the big skirt protects my sinuses from the cold water so I do not get an ice cream headache when I get in.
These goggles come in three sizes, the Kayenne is the smallest, then the Vista and the Seal. You need to find the size that fits your face so they don't leak.
I think GH Sports here in SLO carries all three.
I'll swim tomorrow at 11.