Cold water swimming in Toronto: Part 0

Last summer, since the pools were intermittently closed and open (for 45min every hour to do cleaning and stuff), we spent a lot more time swimming at the beach, taking chances with Lake Ontario and its variable e.coli level. Honestly, it was fine, albeit pretty cold. Air temps in July and early August were fantastic, though. Hot as heck until mid August when it felt like a hard autumn and summer just vanished.

Now, you can’t be much of a swimmer if you live in a cold country, indoor pools never open (covid bullshit), summer is two to three months and the summer swim season is half that. Well, not without some extra insulation.

nice used suit next to my new cheap one

I was never much of an open water swimmer (more of what people called a “drowner” when I trained with a tri team 15 years ago to learn how to swim better). But last summer felt pretty decent, and we capped it off by finding an old pair of raybans in the water, 20m from shore. Yoink. This year, I recently decided to finally get some 5mm wetsuits, gloves, boots, hood, buoys and related gear. I figure if we do this right, we can extend the swim season from let’s say, this weekend to November. Maybe it’s better to wear neo socks instead of surf / dive boots. We’ll find out. I’m new to all this shit.

And dude, people surf in Lake Ontario. Maybe one day I’ll get closer to my childhood / lifelong surfing dream, the one I had ever since I saw North Shore.

I’m also very aware of the windsurfing, kitesurfing, wingboarding, stand up paddleboarding and other stuff here. It’s all very equipment-heavy. For now, I’d like to see if this swimming thing works out.

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