As most triathletes are familiar with, there is a yearly Bike Count at the Ironman World Championships at Hawaii. What they do not have, is a Wetsuit Count. So, since we already were occupied with a research project this year, we thought it would be a good idea to perform a wetsuit count at Norseman.

For those of you that do not know, each year there is a Bike Count at Kona, performed by Lava Magazine. And not only are the bikes being registered, they also count the wheels, power meters, hydration systems, helmets, pedals and more. But no wetsuits, since Ironman Hawaii is a non-wetsuit race.

At Norseman however, wetsuits are mandatory. As waters in Eidfjord are notorious for being cold. As a matter of fact, this is the reason why I started my PhD a few years ago. In 2015 the water was 10°C cold. And since I have been the Medical- and Safety director for the race since 2005, we had to shorten the swim at the race that year. After the race, I decided to start doing some research to find out how the body is affected by swimming in 10°C cold water. And my PhD journey started.

All athletes had to board the ferry at Norseman in the middle of the night. They are all being counted while going through a small ship hatch to get onboard. I stood right inside the hatch, looked at everyone’s wetsuit. The tension among the athletes are electric and slightly nervous. I hope that for a few, seeing the medical director onboard, eased the tension a bit.

So on to the results. As you can see, there are three major wetsuit brands among Norseman athletes this year. Huub, 2XU and BlueSeventy, with Huub in the lead.

This might not be a surprise, as Huub sponsor a lot of Norwegian and international athletes. They also have made a lot of effort on research to make their products as good as possible. I am not sponsored in any way by Huub, or any other wetsuit brand. In the future, we might be able to work on our research project together with the makers of wetsuits. We have some approaches to how to make swimming in cold water better and safer for the athletes.

Later we will reveal our Bike Count, done by my research friend Martin. Stay tuned!