At first we had the regular ”do-it-yourself” swimrun pull-buoy.
Each year, contestants came to the yearly main ÖtillÖ race, with anticipation of what had been developed by others during the year. We remember everything from the children’s-adapted pull-buoys to the merged soda bottles.
Swimrun was a new sport, growing, and without any regulations.
As swimrun evolved, so did equipment and the pull-buoys. We would soon see the first hydrodynamic swimrun specific pull-buoy being developed.
Shortly thereafter came Swimrunners, and then ARK:s own versions, and in different sizes. Swimrunners had started to realise the value of buoyancy. However, not before long had ÖtillÖ decided to restrict the size of pull-buoys in their own races, to the existing sizes on the market.
Just as we thought development had stopped, to our surprise a new manufacturer has now entered the market with their brand new ÆGIR swimrun pull-buoy. It fits ÖtillÖ regulations and features interesting characteristics, which we will of course soon put to the test.
ÆGIR – The Giant on the Ocean
In ancient Nordic culture the God covering the ocean was named ÆGIR. ÆGIR died just like all other Nordic Gods. However, just until recently, when he was reborn into a pull-buoy for swimrun.
Engineers, with time, bring tend to bring great products.
The modern ÆGIR got birth from the two mid-aged swimrunners David and Kalle, during parental leave.
Both of them, had a history of swimrunning, with 3 ÖtillÖ finishes. In addition, backgrounds in marine engineering, product development and computer science, which would come in handy when bringing swimrun-ideas and experiences to the development table.
When ÖtillÖ in late 2019, decided to limit pull-buoy size (32x30x15) in their own races, the hungry engineers jumped on the product idea: fill the empty pull-buoy regulation space with a hydrodynamic shaped adjusted pull-buoy and go to market ASAP. The rationale came from a simple idea: floatation makes speed, and no other product on the market had realized this potential, i.e. to use the full allowed ÖtillÖ-volume. The swimrun sport has seen extensive development of gear over the years in, e.g. wetsuits and shoes, so why not more in flotation (and hydrodynamics)?
Hence, the birth of ”ÆGIR”
After extensive testing (check out the video here) the duo realized the importance of hydrodynamic and water balance. With this came the asymmetric shape. Strong swimmers need to minimize drag and can therefore use the small floatation part downwards, with a large part of ÆGIR staying above surface, when the swimmer’s head is in the water. Going up for a breath or sighting, legs would normally be pushed down and here ÆGIR helps to pull the head out of the water. The pull-buoy is also shaped so the weaker (bowl-strength) swimmers can turn the pull-buoy upside down and always be pushed up with the full strength of the 9L volume, though with some drawback on hydrodynamics.
The team found a strong plastic supplier by the shore of Lake Vättern, in Motala Sweden. Together they developed ÆGIR in PET plastic; the same plastic as a recyclable plastic bottle. A win for the environment. The original thought however was to produce a carbon fiber, moulded from 3D printed shape. The result: around 20 conducted trials, being passed on to the garage bin before giving up on the idea. It is very hard to make something light and water sealed in carbon fiber.
The team is however, excited about this and we at WoS hope to get some feedback on this new pull-buoy from our testing team, but also if any swimrunner has tested it already!
As claimed by the developers, the design seem theoretically perfect within the current allowed ÖtillÖ-space regulations.
But our question is if this will be on the podium finish in the upcoming races. We will soon find out!
For more info see https://dolme.se/
/The WoS Team