Wild Swimming in Lake Wanaka

Meet Wanaka local Eddie Spearing co-organisor of The Ruby, an open water swim event around Ruby Island in Lake Wanaka.

Entry details here

How do you prepare for an event like the Ruby?

We have five lengths of swim ranging from 200m for the kiddies right up to the marathon distance of 10km. So whatever your ability level there will be a length to match (including 600m, 1.2km, 2.5km, 3.8km) to just push you that little bit further than you may be comfortable with. Getting in the pool and doing the hard yard distance is certainly part of the preparation, but also too, many people are not comfortable in deep water so you should practice swimming in places where you can’t see the bottom. It may seem like a no biggie, but it can freak some people out. Crossing the bay to Ruby Island takes you across a depth of over 90m and you look down into a ‘clear green blackness’. But once at the island you can choose to swim around over land or move further out over the deep. But the island is never far away.

What is your advice to someone considering entering?

Choose your distance and either come along for a great morning experiencing the landscape, above and below the water line, or actually come for a race. We have plenty of support craft on the water too so that shouldn’t be a worry. With Challenge Wanaka only three weeks after The Ruby it’s also a great practice swim and a chance to check the temperature.

What is something you love about Wanaka?

There’s a great energy in the town. It’s a little place with a big heart and home to some incredibly talented people in all aspects of society and business considering the size of the population, all drawn here or having discovered Wanaka for much the same reasons. And it hardly ever rains. We have a great little eco-climate which the surrounding mountains and the lake provide.

What’s your favourite spot in Wanaka and why?

Rather than a specific point I would have to say it’s being anywhere ‘in’ the lake. Open water swimming for me is a relatively new pastime, but what I love more than anything else is swimming, on my own, on a mirror flat early bluebird morning in crisp clear water. The smooth movement through the water, the surrounds gliding by, it’s a meditative zen like state. Sounds a bit wanky I know, but honestly, it’s gold.

No excuses - if you can swim then you can do The Ruby