IX. Of goggles, and remembering Greg Hind

water gearI  discovered Hind goggles in 1981 when  I  started  swimming. I tried a variety  of goggles, but the first time I  put on a pair  of Hinds, I  never** looked for  anything  else.  I used to buy  them,  six at a time (2 pairs of each of three colors), from  a catalog.  At that  time,  there was a Barracuda goggle on the  market,  that  cost  $18, and  I had  no  interest in buying into that.  I liked my  $2.95 Hinds.

There were some scares over the years.  Eventually  the goggles  were called “Hind Compy” goggles.  And,  at some points in  the 1990’s there were  rumors that  “Hind” was going out  of business.  I  remember buying  a shit-ton load of  goggles,  getting  my  inventory  up, possibly,  for the  rest of  my  life.

In  1997 Lisa and  I and our two  sons  moved to  San Luis Obispo, and I  soon realized that  “Hind” was a local–Greg Hind and  his  wife,  Jane.  The company, once called “Hind Performance  Wear” was  now known  as GH Sports.  They  were located on none other than Hind Lane,  not four  blocks from  my house  in San  Luis Obispo.

Somewhere along the road, the  rights  to  the  Hind Compy mold were sold,  and eventually  the  goggle was reincarnated, and lives  on today,  with  the name  “Water Gear”.   GH Sports carries these  goggles; they  are all  I ever buy.

[** I confess this,  though: when  I learned  about  swedish  goggles (maybe  in  the mid swede_gogg  1980s) I  was certain  that  I  was a swedish goggle person. They  had a string,  fer chrissake, that went  across  the bridge of  your nose!  And they did not have any  foam liner–they were like  a couple of European soft-boiled egg cups, pressed upside down against  your eyeballs.  They were so  minimalist–I  knew  they  were  the goggle I’d  always  been  destined  to  wear.  I  bought a couple pair of  them, flatly turning my  back on my Hinds.   However….they hurt my eyeballs.  Those damn  egg cups bit into  my eyeballs  the  whole time  I  swam.  I  liked  the idea  of the swedes so  much,  though,  that I persisted  for a couple of  weeks with  them,  bruised eyeballs  and  all.  In  the  end though, I  just  could not wear them.   I’ve always  felt a little  disappointed in  myself for  not having  been  able to  embrace the  swedish  technology,  but alas, it  is so.  (Sorry for briefly straying, Greg.)  However,  once I got over my infatuation with  the swedes, I  came fully to my senses, realizing that Hind Compies were my destiny, and that is how I’ve outfit myself ever since.]

Greg swam at the  same pool as I  did,  and  often, when  I  would arrive at 5:25 am or  so, Greg and  his swim buddy Joel (Hispanic pronunciation = “Hoe-ell”) were just  completing   a short,  but regular, 25 minute workout.  Our paths  would overlap in  the hot tub for a few minutes–I  often soak for  a few minutes  before  starting my swim  workout.  Greg Hind, Hoe-ell, and  myself talked on many mornings.  Greg was a kind-hearted guy–an eccentric sort of character I thought.  He took  a keen  interest in  my  ocean  swimming,  and could always put a good question  to me about  one or another  aspects of  ocean swimming. He encouraged me to write about my swimming.  He gave me access to his Pozo area ranch, and I fly fished the Salinas River there many times. He was an inventor  and an  innovator; a couple of times he wanted me  to try a swim vest that he was developing,  to provide more freedom of movement  for  the swimmer,  while also  providing  insulation from  the cold.  (Curmudgeon-like, I  had to  remind him  that such wimpy  contraband like  this,  is  not allowed in  marathon swimming….)  Greg was a generous guy–he  had his fingers in  many  projects–and always, it seemed he was building,  helping, promoting, encouraging.  And generally this  was done with little  or no publicity–he was a stalwart fixture  in the SLO community–a positive force that  stayed mostly,  it seemed to me,  out  of  the limelight.  Greg Hind passed away in October of 2012.  Greg is  missed by  many.

This morning  when I  jumped in the pool, it happened that I  was in the same  lane as Hoe-ell, and physically absent, as ever he shall be, was Greg Hind.  Hoe-ell and  I exchanged a few words; Greg’s name was not mentioned,  but  I  think  we both knew  he was there with us.  We swam off, each to  his  own workout…



4 thoughts on “IX. Of goggles, and remembering Greg Hind

  1. Beautiful post, Dave. I had no idea Greg Hind was local, much less that he was a friend of yours. As you know I am a Swedish goggle devotee, but I’ve always felt a kindred spirit with the Compy fans. I’ve known a few of you over the years…

    • Hey Evan, As I said in the post, I view my inability to embrace swedish goggles as a distressing character flaw that I, alas, can do nothing about. But….bruised eyeballs are bruised eyeballs….and Compys are Compys!
      (uhhhh…actually, Compys are Water Gear…)

  2. Pingback: Compy Goggles, and remembering Greg Hind | GH Sports

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