If Santa was real and had working knowledge of specialist outdoor swimming kit, what treats and surprises would he give you this Christmas? That’s the question the OSS team ask themselves each year when we create our annual gift wish lists – but this year we’ve gone one better.
This year, we’ve turned our 2020 swimming gift list into a raffle – with limited ticket numbers, 4,000, and 40 prizes, there’s a one in 100 chance of winning. All proceeds will go to The Outdoor Swimming Society and keep us online and sharing the swim love in 2021.
We’re a unique organisation and it might look like it’s all full moon swimming and volunteer power here, but there are still real-world costs like insurance and web hosting we need to meet. We hope this provides a great way for our followers to put something in the tin, while crossing their fingers for a win.
Please buy tickets for yourself, friends and family, swimming buddies and others who have touched your life during 2020. Every entrant will receive a unique ticket number by email, and the winners will be notified by 5pm on Christmas Eve. So if you want to buy a ticket for a swim buddy and put it under the tree, you can do that: just let them know their raffle number and by the evening, they’ll know if they’re a Christmas Cracker prize winner.
Raffle tickets are purchased through Crowdfunder. To BUY RAFFLE TICKETS you need to use the REWARD boxes on our Crowdfunder page.
The raffle closes on Friday 18 December at 9am. Ticket buyers will receive their raffle ticket numbers by 5pm on Tuesday 22 December. Prizes will be drawn at random in the order of prize value and winners will be notified by 5pm on Thursday 24 December. This raffle is open to people in Great Britain (Wales, Scotland and England) only. Please see full T&Cs.
As swimmers we feel a real custodianship over our environment, so what we wanted for Christmas was universally high quality, long-lasting, sustainably sourced gear. Outdoor swimming is one of those sports where you need so little – but can end up wanting quite a lot. SwimTrek swim holidays, Alpkit down jackets, Finisterre jumpers, AquaSphere goggles, Red Original ProRobes and Orca winter wetsuits: our lists went on. But also, books to read (Adventurous Ink book subscription), bodyboards to play with and camp stoves for a brew.
Good luck with your ticket!
When is a holiday not just a holiday? When you’re on board with SwimTrek. Many of The OSS team have formed lifelong friendships and had ‘the times of their lives’ with SwimTrek, the pioneers of swimming holidays. SwimTrek are offering our star prize of a £600 adventure package for 2021. If you’re the enviable winner you can choose from one of four SwimTrek holidays (Malta Escape, Lakes of Lithuania, Lake Bled and the Slovenian Alps, or Lakes and Tarns) or put £600 towards a more expensive trip of your choice.
OSS’s Gear Reviewer, Adrian “Swimstaman”, cannot wait to road test the ORCA RS1 Thermal Open Water Wetsuit, which comes out in January 2021. The suit, which is not online yet, features a heat retaining inner lining and a second layer of neoprene. It promises to be an enviable piece of kit: we’re expecting a snug fit which stretches in all the right places, and doesn’t let the icy water trickle in.
Weatherproof changing robes have become the must-have fashion item of 2020. Red Original are known for the quality of their accessories, and will give one lucky winner a bundle of gifts: a long sleeve Pro Change Robe (£144.95) plus a 10 litre dry bag, waterproof pouch, drinks bottle, travel cup, microfibre towel and active jacket.
Warm, light and 100% recycled, the Filoment Down Jacket is (literally) the uniform for the OSS volunteer team (we all have them in OSS iconic red): working as a midlayer or top layer depending on how cold it is on those winter dips. We have two jackets to win in the raffle, women’s and men’s.
Why is this jacket a team favourite? Because of the quality, reasonable price and because our friends over at Alpkit let their love of the outdoors and it’s community guide the way they do business. Every piece of kit they sell is sourced carefully and sold with the promise of aftercare.
A Finisterre jumper is for life, not just for Christmas: founder Tommy Kay is so committed to sustainability he bred his own flock of sheep. Known for their quality, luxury and sustainability, Finisterre jumpers are on all our Christmas lists. We have two men’s Cabet jumpers to give away: heavyweight fisherman cable knit jumpers. Chunky and traditional, the 100% wool yarn has had minimal processing and is as traditional as it gets as a way to stay warm outside.
Known for their quality, luxury and sustainability, Finisterre jumpers are on all our Christmas lists. We have two women’s Hill jumpers to give away in Beacon Red. The Hill jumper is a chunky blend of alpaca and wool: luxurious, chunky and cosy.
When the chop is too much to freestyle, grab a bodyboard to enjoy the sea instead. The TZ-1 PE BodyBoard which comes out in January 2021. It’s a strengthened bodyboard that is built to last, with excellent buoyancy and a design that makes catching waves much easier. We love BodyBoard Depot, the plastic free, tree planting champions, who are based in Wareham, Dorset.
Folk at Adventurous Ink subscription services are offering you a year’s worth of adventure to feed the imagination while stuck indoors! Reads include: Another Escape, The Water Volume, which shares in the lives of those deeply connected to water; Sidetracked, a journal featuring a collection of personal stories of adventure travel, journeys and expeditions and The Foragers Calendar, where John Wright neatly documents everything edible, categorising them by the month, revealing one of Mother Nature’s greatest mysteries.
Used by water enthusiasts and special forces the world over, Watershed makes heavy duty, zip and stitch-free drybags for the most rugged adventures. Their Animas rucksack is a perfect choice for swim-tours. It holds three days worth of stuff, is submersible to 90metres and you can remove the straps and tow it along effortlessly with a leash when you’re in the water.
Win the Animas rucksack (*or equivalent bag value to £135)
We’re giving away one of our super cosy unisex hoodies. Grab a Society Slate pull-over or Zeno’s Forest Green zip hoodie – a comfort piece for post-swim layering, or lounging in on long winter nights. You can pick your favourite from the OSS shop.
Put the kettle on, wherever you are: OSS Instagram Editor @davpye is known for taking his fast-boil Brukit to the shores of his nearby lakes, and says he’s almost as fond of the warming up afterwards as the dips themselves. The Brukit is a “heat it and eat it, 560g integrated cooking system for quick cooking on the go”. We have three Brukits to give away, ideal for fresh brews on the trail, hot soup and nutritious one-pot wonders.
Have you discovered these yet? Happy Ears, the Swedish masters of effective and durable earplugs, have just brought out a waterproof model. As ears are not one size fits all, Happy Ears are providing 10 sets of Discovery Packs to give away. Win one of these and you can check the right size for your ears.
Want to get your hands on the goggle of choice for epic Four Times Non Stop Channel swimmer Sarah Thomas? The team at Aqua Sphere are offering eight pairs of clear lens Kaiman Exo. A very popular goggle packed with important features including 180 degree field of vision and the latex-free hypoallergenic fit – it feels secure yet comfortable during our many hours of open water swimming.
With huge thanks to all of you this Christmas (hasn’t swimming been the best part of the year?).
I am so grateful to all the swim-community minded companies who joined this society fundraiser. The OSS is run by a small team of dedicated volunteers who have really missed seeing you all at our annual events this year: checking you have your goggles before handing in your swim kit, pulling you out of the water before you Swoosh out to sea and soaking up your post swim joy. We hope you enjoy this as a small way to spread the Christmas cheer.