Seeing Through The Eyes Of A Waterman

Seeing Through The Eyes Of A Waterman

Watermen and waterwomen are individuals who are considered by their peers and the marine sports community to be well-adept, experienced and highly skilled in various marine sports and aquatic activities, performed safely and courageously in myriad conditions.

Their abilities are matched by their passion and comfort levels in the ocean. They surf, swim, paddle, kayak, body surf, boat, and dive. They can do rowing, fishing, stand-up paddling, surf lifesaving, lifeguarding, kite sailing and windsurfing.

While they may not be equally adept at all of these activities, they are not afraid to try all of them. They smile at adventure and welcome new challenges to test their limits.

True watermen and waterwomen are also humble with a personality that screams inclusiveness and appreciation for the ocean.

They are simultaneously fearless and constantly respectful of rough water conditions and big-wave surf. While they accept the inherent risks of the ocean, they take safety in the water – for themselves and others – very seriously. They understand how to read the ocean and have an inherent feel for what to expect based on the weather, winds, tides, currents and swells. They support marine go-ers of all types – newbies and veterans, neoprened and bioprened, scared and skilled. Their thoughts, as evidenced by their actions, are never far away from a deeply embedded connection with the ocean.

It is a moniker that is not obtained overnight or even with one or two good seasons of sporting accomplishments. It is a label that is an accumulation of concrete actions, some done in the public limelight, some conducted behind the scenes, some demonstrated in one-on-one interactions. Their words spoken in public are echoed by conversations done in private that unfailingly demonstrate their love of the open water.

And many of them also strive to improve water resources, reduce water pollution, and protect the environment and water species from over-exploitation.

But Matty Mitchell has taken the moniker to an even more profound level. “I just don’t use goggles in the ocean. The salt water really doesn’t bother me even if I open my eyes under water. I used to do all the ocean races without goggles, so now I just swim 1, 2, 3 miles in the ocean without a problem.”

Swimming in the ocean sans goggles. Positively amphibian.

Gotta like the purity of that waterman.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming