An Ode to Ocean Swimming with Bondi Salties
Our latest collaboration with luxury mens resort and swim brand, Orlebar Brown, is a celebration of the joy of swimming. Inspired by the urge to be in, on and around the water.
As a brand born by the beach, we're particularly drawn to the ocean. The sea, for us, is a source of inspiration, reflection and a reminder of nature's calming but powerful influence. The name 'Bondi Wash' was inspired by the real 'wash' of the waves at Bondi Beach. It reminds us of the sensation of being in water, that leaves you feeling equally energised as deeply relaxed.
To explore this connection more, we spoke to Henry Meagher, someone who knows the transformative benefits of swimming in the ocean well.
Henry was one of the original swimmers in the Bondi Salties in 2013, a social swim group at Bondi Beach every Friday morning. What begun as a small group of friends has grown into a real community, with up to 200 friendly faces gathering each week for a point to point swim and coffee.
A true water-lover, Henry talks to us about the unexpected benefits of the Friday morning ritual and what draws him to the ocean.
You’ve been part of creating an incredible community in Bondi, revolving around a love of ocean swimming. We’d love to hear about your journey into swimming – how did it begin and how did Bondi Salties start?
Being near the ocean, hearing it, smelling it, it’s part of my DNA and a big part of my ocean memory bank…my knowledge, experiences and emotions are especially with Bondi Beach. I was a nipper at North Bondi Surf Lifesaving Club and spent endless summers jumping off flat rock with mates and body surfing with my Dad and sisters.
Fast-forward to a beautiful morning in June of 2013. A group of friends and I decided to meet at the North Bondi Ramp for a quick soft sand, point to point swim and a coffee. Smiles were large post-swim, and the energy was electric…we were hooked. The Salties were born.
Can you describe some of the benefits of your weekly swim ritual?
The well-known benefits of ocean swimming are the physical, things like boosting your immune system, improving your circulation, increasing your libido, reducing your stress levels and burning calories... But the more I swim and Salties grows, it’s the ‘unexpected benefits’ which are real gems - the connection it gives you to the ocean and those you are with, the new meaning it brings to community and the purpose it creates. There is no better feeling than seeing someone who has completed their first swim - smiles large, energy electric and a pep in their step!
How does your love for the ocean shape your views on protecting the environment?
There is an inner urge to want to give back and take care of the place that brings you so much joy. As our community grew during COVID so did the number of takeaway cups we used each Friday at bRU - our go-to spot for the post-swim coffee. In 2020 we partnered with bRU and Pledge For The Planet to f#ck the cup for good. We've never looked back and now every Friday when the group grabs a coffee, they take it from bRU’s 'mug' library.
You’ve spent a lot of time in the water, can you share one of your most memorable swims?
I love the rainy, cold, big swell mornings where only the fearless swimmers show up. Being out in the elements during this wild weather is a pretty cool experience. Being out the back in wild winds and and big swell with a few like-minded humans is energising. These mornings are also a good reminder of the risks involved; the ocean is a wild and powerful beast and it’s important we respect it and know our limits.
Do you have other non-negotiables that keep you feeling well?
I love running and try to get out three mornings a week at 5am with a local group called ‘Runners in the Dark’. I love starting in the dark and exercising into first light. The early light exposure causes the perfect cortisol peak in the morning which I find increases my energy throughout the day, but also helps me fall asleep more easily at night. I also drink a litre of water each morning with a spoonful of AG1.
Any advice for those considering taking up open water swimming?
Buddy up, know your limits and get comfortable reading and understanding the surf. A great first step is to join a local ocean swimming group who can help build your confidence and ability in open water - we have a few Bondi options listed on our FAQs.
How would you describe the feeling of a Friday at Salties in three words?
Joy, Awe and Gratitude
Imagery by Morning Bondi