View Full Version : Open Water Wig?

December 22nd, 2010, 08:21 PM
After years of watching women with long hair (and men with a full head of hair) struggle to get their caps on, I realized that those of us who are follicle challenged are at a severe disadvantage. Even a cursory examination makes it obvious that those heavily haired heads have more insulation. In fact the R-value of any insulation is expressed as the thickness of the material divided by the thermal conductivity. Assuming all hair has the same thermal conductivity, then the R-value of a full head of hair is greater than the R-value of those few strands left standing.

In cold water OW swimming hypothermia poses a real risk. Failure to stay warm can result in a swimmer abandoning the swim. Since all athletes should be able to compete with a level playing ground, I propose that in any OW race where the water is below 70 F, swimmers without a full head of hair should be permitted to wear a wig under their cap as insulation. In the alternative, if all competitors agree, the heads of the haired ones can be shaved.

December 22nd, 2010, 11:11 PM
I'm not going to shave my head to swim in an OW race so I vote for your wig idea!! :D

Chicken of the Sea
December 22nd, 2010, 11:24 PM
I agree 100%. I wonder if glueing, say, dreads onto the outside of a cap would have the same insulating properties as inside-cap hair? It would look intimidating.
Body hair wigs might also be an advantage! Maybe Jim Thornton could mass produce some merkins like the one he modeled in a vlog a while back.

December 23rd, 2010, 12:10 PM
I think you have a slippery slope here! I'll use myself as an example. I began voluntarily shaving my head many years ago. Now, some will tell you I was going bald already. Frankly, that's not how I remember it!

In any event, could a swimmer voluntarily shave their head in exchange for a higher R-value wig? Would the R-values of all "swimwigs" be the same? How would you test, and monitor these results? Would the "swimwig" have to have an "approval sticker" indicating it was a properly sanctioned model?

December 23rd, 2010, 12:16 PM
LOL! Too funny. I have another idea -- how about a swim cap that is lined with polar fleece or faux fur? I too, like the idea of the dreadlocks , but I have this vision in my head of someone grabbing onto them like a ski rope during a race start. :D

January 5th, 2011, 12:35 PM
I've undergone some hair displacement over the last decade (whatever falls of the head gets stuck to the back). And I already had a full chest of hair to complement the thicket on my back.

So I'm not envious of a full head of hair. I have plenty of insulation without it. I dread the day when they make chest and back wigs legal.

January 6th, 2011, 01:37 AM
Very funny, I like your logic.. I happen to be of the long haired female version. I will not be shaving my head, so, go ahead...have your wig! BUT, if you choose that option, then I insist it should be worn the entire Race day. So then you too can experience the "pleasure" of wet, cold, heavy mass, dripping down your back, shoulders and stealing your warmth as the cold winds continuously evaporate H2O molecules slowly, while you have your post race snack, and wait around for the awards ceremony. Tip: It will help to bring a few shirts to change into and few towels to dry off the "wig".. lol :)

P.S. If you swallow H2O in OW practices, is it dead give away that you are novice? :)