Swimmers and their connection to Wild swimming.
Blog #4 Pippa Best who is pictured wearing the Sea turtle print swimsuit
1. First of all I'd like to ask you about your connection to wild swimming and how it makes you feel?
Wild swimming always transforms how I feel - even on the coldest rainiest of days. The water washes away my doubts and criticism, and quiets my nagging mind - my swim is both my daily moving meditation and my self-compassion practice. Every morning, I leave the water a different person: braver, stronger, more focused, more in tune with myself and the world around me. And more appreciative of the natural world, and how vital it is to love, protect and respect it.
2. How long have you been wild swimming for?
I’ve always loved swimming in the sea in the summer, but I started sea swimming all year round three years ago. I can’t imagine ever stopping now.
3. How do you feel it benefits you, especially since you have taken up wild swimming? What changes have you seen in yourself?
Wild swimming has changed my life for the better in so many ways. The cold water and regular ‘weightless’ exercise soothes my aching bones and joints, relieving the physical pain of my arthritis. Time in and around the water has also helped me to calm anxiety, clear difficult emotions, and gain greater faith in myself. In the sea, I connect to my courage, my intuition, and something greater than myself. I get to spend time immersed in Cornwall’s natural beauty every day - reaping all the positive wellbeing benefits of time spent in nature. Plus, I’ve met a wonderful community of swimmers whose paths would never have crossed with mine in any other way.
My wild swimming experiences even gave me the inspiration and courage to set up a new business, Sea Soul Blessings in 2018 - which was unlike anything I’d done before. I wanted to capture some of the many beautiful gifts the sea has given me, and to share these with others, so I created a simple set of affirming cards and guidebook to create space for a mindful pause and some sea-inspired “life refreshment” in your daily routine, however far you may be from the water. Using the cards is much like my experience of wild swimming - a way to create mindful compassionate time for yourself, clear your mind and stresses away, and connect to your essence. The deeper appreciation that I’ve gained for nature through wild swimming also means that I’ve made these entirely plastic-free, recyclable and made of mostly recycled materials - and we donate to environmental causes from every sale, giving back to the sea that so inspires and supports us.
4. How often do you participate in wild swimming?
I try to swim every morning off the prom near my home in Penzance, Cornwall, weather permitting. I love to go early when the beach is mostly empty and the light is at its most beautiful, but I also have to work around getting the kids to school, so the time I can get there varies - even more so during lockdown. But whatever time I get in the water, it always makes me feel better - I can face anything at work or in life after that.
5. What features do you look for in your swimwear?
I look for something that’s practical, that fits well, and stays where it’s supposed to when I get in and out of the water or attempt a handstand or two. I usually wear a chunky bikini because it’s easy to change quickly in and out of on the beach, especially on a windy wet day.
6. How often you buy swimwear for wild swimming?
I try to limit my purchases and avoid fast fashion. Protecting the natural world I love is important to me, I’d rather invest in swimwear that’s made sustainably and which lasts a long time. I have three bikinis that I rotate right now that have lasted me two years of daily swims so far.
7. Do you have a wild swimming kit?
I wear some good quality surfer’s ear plugs to protect my ears against the cold, and two swim hats (mainly because I can’t keep my long hair dry otherwise, but I’m sure that also helps against the cold in winter). If the tide is low and I have to walk on a lot of pebbles and rocks to get to the sea, I’ll also wear slip on swim-shoes to protect my toes. I’ve recently got some bigger goggles which are fantastic for seeing the kelp forests and sea life around me as I swim - it’s taken me a while to work out how to stop letting water in round the edges when I grin, but now I’ve got that sorted, I’m loving using those.
Visit Pippa's website to findout more and follow her on social media: