I 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 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…