Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Is it the boat or the paddler...?

You'll all be familiar with the age-old argument related to the speed you can get out of your boat, and whether it's really the boat or the paddler that makes us "winners." (This camp tends to fall on the paddler's side.) But still we'll hang out for that boat that shaves off a few grams or even kilos with the transition from plastic to kevlar, sharper lines and fork out over $450 for a racing carbon fibre wing paddle.

Now it seems the argument's also hitting the competitive world of swimming, where Speedo's come out with the LZR Racer Highneck Bodyskin - for only US$550 (NZ$704). Not just another swim suit (or "togs" as we Kiwis call them), these suits are being blamed for toppling a host of world records in the past eight weeks - 36 as of Sunday - by swimmers wearing the high-tech LZR Racer bodysuit.

Speedo says the LZR aids streamlining and reduces skin vibration and muscle oscillation, but critics say use of the suit is tantamount to "technological doping" and should never have been approved.

Of course, every non-Speedo-sponsored competitive swimmer is panicking, wondering whether to ditch their own lucrative suit contracts and buy their own LZR.

But Croatia's Duje Draganja, the world's fastest man in water (and who wears a LZR), harks back to our own paddler vs. boat debate: "It's a great commercial - it's good, but not that good," he said. "Fast swimmers are fast swimmers. That will always be the case, suit or no suit."

1 comment:

David said...

My own rationale for spending the US $550 on beer instead of an LZR is that it would eliminate one more excuse for going so slowly.