Will 'budgie smugglers' still rule?
The issue has already been discussed by the members of Byron Bay Winter Whales which organises the very popular annual event, and a final decision is expected in the next few weeks.
It’s a hot topic in wider ocean swimming circles, with organisers of last Sunday’s Big Swim from Palm Beach to Whale Beach in Sydney banning the use of high-tech swimsuits.
They ruled that swimmers – men and women – had to wear conventional swim suits, which for men, meant briefs, or ‘budgie smugglers’, with no leg cover or cover above the waist.
Women had to wear either a one or two-piece costume with no sleeves and no leg cover.
Winter Whales spokesman, Syl Reid, said the high-tech swimwear issue was being talked about by the ‘whole ocean swimming community’.
Mr Reid said under present Winter Whales race rules, swimmers could use ‘extraneous aids’ such as fins, snorkels or flotation clothing, but were not eligible for prizes and could not qualify as an official placegetter.
He said the club was looking at allowing the ‘elite’ swimmers to wear the high-tech swimsuits in the ocean classic, but not other competitors.
Essentially, he said, the swim was meant to be a fun event.
“It’s (the swim) purely for people who love ocean swimming,” Mr Reid said.
“By entering, swimmers are raising money for charity.”
Mr Reid said the Winter Whales committee was expected to make a decision soon on the issue.
The 2km swim from Wategos to Main Beach – the 21st – is set down for Sunday, May 3. This year the event is expected to attract 1500 swimmers.
A mini-ocean swim of 800m from The Pass to Main Beach will be held in conjunction. The exciting dash-for-cash races will round out the program.
Last year Brisbane’s Trent Grimsey won the open men’s race. Olympian Megan Nay won the women’s event. The event also attracts international competitors.