Showing posts with label Swimming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swimming. Show all posts

Video: Swimming with Killer Whales

Spotting a pod of orca whales (aka killer whales) in the wild is an impressive sight indeed. But few of us ever get the chance to actually go swimming with them while they are in the midst of a feeding session. This video takes us into the cold waters off Norway to do just that, providing some amazing footage of these massive creatures in their natural environment.

2016-11-12 - Spectacular close ups of herring feeding orcas from Jonas Follesø on Vimeo.

Exactly What is the Toughest Outdoor Sport?

Have you ever wondered what the toughest outdoor sport is? Outside magazine did and put that question to some experts to find out. The results might surprise you, but you'll discover exactly which activities but the most demands on your body, and what some well known outdoor athletes consider the most grueling activities. 

In this article, Outside compares rock climbing, downhill mountain biking, ultrarunning, open water swimming, and nordic skiing to one another in terms of calories burned per hour, as well as injury rate and fatality rates. Using those statistics, they then analyzed each of the activities and spoke with experts on the sports to determine which ones are the most demanding.

In terms of calories burned per hour, those sports ranked in ascending order as downhill mountain biking (632/hr), ultrarunning (768/hr), rock climbing (818/hr), nordic skiing (952/hr), and open water swimming (957/hr). This gives you a bit of an idea of how much energy you expend while doing each of these activities on a high level. It explains why these athletes are in such impressive shape too. Burning those levels of calories on an hourly basis is intense, particularly when done for an extended period of time. I can tell you that when I go on one of my longer runs (10-15 miles) on a weekend, I ended up being hungry the rest of the day.

So just which of these sports was deemed the most difficult? According to Outside nordic skiing takes the crown because it requires strength, stamina, speed, and a level of cardio performance too. Next up, was rock climbing in no small part because of the technical skills required, followed by open water swimming and downhill mountain biking. Ultrarunning came in last of the five sports listed, although everyone involved with the article admitted that it is still an incredibly tough and demanding sport too.

What do you think? Did Outside get it right? Which of these sports do you think is the hardest? Is there one that didn't make the list that deserves a mention?

Gear Closet: Body Glove 3T Barefoot Warrior Water Shoes

We live in a great time for the outdoor industry. Not only is our gear getting better all the time, it is getting more technical and specialized too. Case in point, over the past few years I've gone from a guy who had just a few pairs of shoes in his closet to someone who now owns the perfect shoe for whatever outdoor activity I'm heading out to take part in. But recently, I added a new pair of footwear to my growing collection in the form of the 3T Barefoot Warrior water shoe from Body Glove, which have delivered lightweight versatility for all of my favorite waterborne adventures.

If you read my article yesterday about whitewater rafting in Quebec you know that my recent trip to that part of Canada was all about spending time on the water. In fact, while I was there I not only went rating, but canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding too. All of those activities were an opportunity to test the 3T Barefoot Warrior in a variety of different aquatic settings, and I can honestly say after using them for a week on the water, I came away very impressed.

These shoes feature a unique design that somewhat resembles Vibram's popular Five Fingers line. But where those shoes require you to jam all of your toes into individual slots, Body Glove has taken the wise step of using a three-toed design instead. As a result, I found it much easier to get the 3T Barefoot Warrior on than I ever did using the Five Fingers. That's because by big toe and second toe can easily slide into place, while the remaining three fit nicely into a larger compartment. On Vibram's offerings I always had to force those last three toes into their proper slots, which felt a bit unnatural to me.

Once the 3T Barefoot Warriors are on my feet, they feel far more natural and comfortable too, providing plenty of protection while still maintaining a good sense of balance too. In fact, up until I had these shoes I had always gone stand-up paddling barefoot as it helped to create the surest connection between my feet and the board I was using. But with Body Glove's shoes I was able to still keep my balance, even on a board that was not amongst the most stable that I have ever used.

As with any water shoe, drainage is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, Body Glove did a great job designing this shoe to allow water to move in and out quickly and easily. That same drainage system also serves to create ventilation for the foot when you're not in the water too, helping it to stay cooler while on land. As a result, you can easily transition in and out of the water without missing a beat.

Made from lightweight, quick-drying materials the 3T Barefoot Warrior are durable and comfortable enough that you can wear them all day without fear. Other water shoes have tended to chafe my feet at times when I wasn't in the water, but I didn't experience that at all here. And while you may get some strange looks wearing them around town, if you do have to wear them in that environment, you're feet won't complain one bit.

If you're in the market for a lightweight and versatile pair of water shoes that you can use in a wide variety of activities, the 3T Barefoot Warrior is an excellent option. I personally really like how they fit on my feet and how well they hold their grip, even on slick surfaces. The fact that they are also highly comfortable is a nice bonus, while the three-toed design makes them easy to get on and off and aids balance too. At $59.99 I think these shoes are a steal, and I believe anyone who takes part in water sports with any regularity will agree. Whether you kayak, SUP, swim, snorkel, or raft, this is a shoe that you'll want in your closet too.

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Adventurer Swimming the Length of the Mississippi River

For me, some of the most impressive feats of endurance involve swimming long distances. The challenges that come along with such an endeavor are very different than say trekking or cycling on land. The water simply makes things more difficult, creating colder conditions and providing greater resistance. That's why I'm incredibly impressed with what American Chris Ring is doing. The 28-year old U.S. Navy vet set out in June to swim the length of the Mississippi River, and while he has already covered an impressive distance, he still has a long way to go.

This massive undertaking started in the headwaters of  the Mississippi in northern Minnesota's Lake Itasca and has continued south for more than four months. So far, Chris has covered approximately 1300 miles (2092 km) of the journey, with another 1200 miles (1931 km) left to go. He had been averaging about 15 miles (24 km) per day, but when he reached St. Louis on Sept. 24, that milage increased to about 20 miles (32 km) thanks to stronger currents pushing him along. If he can maintain that pace, Ring believes he will reach the Gulf of Mexico in New Orleans sometime in mid-November.

The swimmer has dubbed this challenge the Swim for their Sacrifice, and he has dedicated the journey to fallen U.S. soldier and the families they have left behind. With that thought in mind, he specifically chose June 6 – the anniversary of D-Day – to begin the swim, and along the way he has stopped to meet with numerous widows and families of soldiers who have died defending the United States. The expedition is also being conducted sponsored by Legacies Alive, an organization dedicated to improving the support for families of fallen soldiers.

If he is successful, Chris will become only the second person to ever swim the length of the Mississippi. Endurance swimmer Martin Strel also accomplished that feat back in 2002, and is has yet to be duplicated again. Ring seems on track to accomplish that, but he still has many miles to go before he is done.

You can follow Chris' progress on the Legacies Alive Facebook page. I wish him luck on the remainder of the journey and hope he gets to the finish line at Mile Marker 0 safe and sound.

Long Distance Swimmer Prepares to Attempt Pacific Ocean Crossing

Back in 1998, long distance swimmer Ben Lecomte became the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without using a kick board, covering 3716 miles (5996 km) in 73 days. That was a grueling exercise in endurance and determination that cemented his place in the record books. But now, Ben is looking to take on an even more impressive challenge. In July, he'll set off on an even longer swim, as he attempts to become the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean, a journey that will cover more than 5500 miles (8851 km) between Tokyo and San Francisco.

The Longest Swim, as Ben has aptly named this project, will be undertaken to help raise awareness of climate change. In order to accomplish this feat he'll need to swim 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for 180 days, burning as much as 10,000 calories per day. A support will be with him at every stage of the journey of course, and he'll rest and take his meals aboard that boat as he progresses. In a recent interview with Red Bull, Ben says that his boat will be a special one too. Made completely out of wood, and 24 meters in length, it was built back in 1940, and fits well into his mindset of protecting the environment and recycling.

In that same interview, Lancomte talks about how he trains for such a long distance swim, how he manages to keep pushing himself forward for hours on end, and for days at a time, and what his goals are for the project. Namely, he hopes to attract as much attention to the challenges our planet faces due to climate change, and he thought the best way to achieve that was to undertake this massive challenge.

The Longest Swim is still a few weeks away from getting underway, and Ben will wait for the optimal conditions before he starts. You'll be able to follow his progress on his website, through Twitter, and on Facebook. It should be quite the journey to say the least.

Video: The Toughest Swimming Race You've Ever Seen

Swimming isn't a sport I write about a lot on this blog, and if I do it is usually because someone is covering an especially impressive distance, or it is part of a major triathlon. But in this case, it is worth pointing out the insane event that is the Redbull Neptune Steps, a race that sends competitors on a 420 meter sprint swim up the Maryhill Locks in Glasgow, Scotland. The swimmers must make their way up stream, then climb up eight different locks on their way to the finish line. To say that this looks exhausting would be an understatement. It is also safe to say there aren't many other events like this in the world.

Video: Swimming with Icebergs

You don't typically think of swimming as an "extreme" sport, but in this video we're introduced to some swimmers who just might change your mind. The clip features Stig Severinsen, a world-class free diver who can stay submerged with just a single breath for minutes at a time. He then uses this ability to go swimming under icebergs, creating a scene that is unlike any you've seen before. The first part of the video, which comes our way courtesy of National Geographic, discusses how Stig, and other swimmers, are able to control their bodies as they prepare for the conditions they'll face in the cold water. But later, it transitions to just watching him swim through these glass-like structures. It is amazingly beautiful to behold.