William Gurstelle, author of Absinthe & Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously writes, "Among our primitive ancestors, those who ventured farthest from their caves in search of better food or who overcame their fear of fire accrued significant advantages over theri meeker kin. That's why a lot of us like the idea of living on the edge: It's in our DNA to take risks."
A 2005 German study concluded that people who take above-average risks have a higher-than-average index of life satisfaction.
Maybe that is why open water swimmers seems so happy when they step away from the shoreline and enter the open water?
Photos show Egyptian Abou Heif, who ventured far from shore and voted as the greatest marathon swimmer of the 20th century, known for his ever-present smile and outgoing character.
Now we know why.
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association