Get Your Game On

Aug 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Speed Swimming
The Game: If you've ever wondered what strapping a propeller to your belly feels like, here's a little-known fact: "Swimming in the slipstream behind someone's feet produces the same benefit as drafting on a bike," says Lance Watson. "Do it right and you'll lop two minutes off a 1,500-meter swim." Beyond letting you cruise up to 10 percent faster than you could alone, DRAFTING forces you to adapt to quick arm turnover and efficient breathing—but without the exhausting effort of a race. "It's like swimming downstream," says Watson. "You'll actually feel pulled along."
The Rules: Find at least two other people for an open-water swim. Pick a buoy or a spot on the opposite shore about a half-mile away. Start swimming in a line, each person positioned an arm's length behind the other. The lead swimmer accelerates into a sprint for 65 strokes, then breaks to the left and drops to the back. Now the second swimmer sprints for 65 strokes, then peels off for the third swimmer's lead. Be prepared to become addicted to the swift pace; you might never want to swim alone again. Surfing
The Game: "Seventy-five percent of surfers don't surf; they just sit out there waiting for the perfect wave," says Mary Setterholm, president of Surf Academy, a surf camp in Hermosa Beach, California. Setterholm doesn't allow such lethargy in her clinics. "You need to be able to make the best of any wave, not just the perfect ones," she says. To encourage more wave time, she invented TAG TEAM SURFING, which encourages a maniacal chase for even crummy waves. "People who surf mushy waves end up becoming the best surfers," says Setterholm.
The Rules: Paddle out past the break with three buddies and split into two teams. Wagering is encouraged, so make a bet—say, a box of Krispy Kremes—and set a ten-minute time limit. After ready-set-go, one member from each team catches a wave, rides it as long as he can, then paddles back quickly to tag his partner. The partner then immediately catches the next available wave, paddles back, and tags surfer number one. Whichever team rides the most waves wins. Even if you're the one buying the doughnuts, you've still benefited from the game. "Every wipeout is another lesson," Setterholm says, "not to mention a super upper-body workout."

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