Surfing/Water Activities- Questions about the Omnipod


I’m new here and I’ve been looking around the site a bunch lately. I read some of the surfing-related posts from 2010 and 2011, but I still have some questions. I’ve been T1 since I was 29 (I’m 42 now) and I’ve been on multiple daily injections since then. However, I just received the Omnipod and Dexcom and I’m headed to the Dr. office for training on these next week.

In the meantime, I’d like to pick the brains of the water women and men to find out what works best for you while surfing or engaging in other water-related activities. I’m sure many of you have gone thru a lot of trial and error and I’d like to learn from you.

It seems that a lot of the suggestions from previous surfing posts focus on how to deal with the Omni and Dexcom while wearing a wetsuit, but thankfully the water is 70-85 here from spring to fall and doesn’t require wearing a wetsuit. Think bikini. When a wetsuit is required, then we like to go on surf trips to somewhere warm :) So here are some questions off the top of my head focused on surfing with the Omnipod and Dexcom in warm water:

1) Where on your body do you generally wear the Omnipod and/or Dexcom while surfing?

2) How do you hold it on - do you use additional tape or wrap or some other type of accessory?

3) How long do you typically surf at a time before going in to check your blood sugar/Dexcom?

4) It’s pretty darn hot here during the spring/summer, so I’m wondering how to keep my PDM and receiver cool in the car while surfing? Leaving it on the beach is not an option because of theft this time of year. My car gets really toasty in the summer sun, so I need something that can withstand at least 4 hours in the car and protect these electronics.

5) Have you ever had an infection at Omni or Dexcom site that you can attribute to being in the ocean?

6) By what % do you typically reduce your basal rate while surfing for an extended period?

7) Finally, I got yanked out of the security line while leaving Guatemala last fall. I had a very small toenail clipper in my carry on bag, and they opened it and broke off the middle part of the clipper that swings out and said never to carry these again. They said nothing about all my needles and other equipment, but I’m still a bit wary now of leaving foreign countries with all this new pump/CGM equipment. Any advice on traveling with this equipment?

Thanks in advance for your response! ☺


I'm not a surfer, but I've gone marathon white water rafting (class 5+) with the Dexcom and Omnipod on. I didn't wear a wetsuit. I did use skin tac to help my Dex and Pod stick better, and it worked like a charm. I highly recommend it, or some other extra adhesive. I was in the river 10 hours, splashed and tossed about, and paddling like a mad man. Or woman, that is. I wore that sensor another week, no infection. Never had one from the Pod or Dex. I opted for the back of my arm. I used them both on the same arm (my right). And it was the right choice, even with the paddling. I took my receiver and PDM in a dry bag in the raft because I was going to be miles away from a car though. We took a break and had lunch. I tested then. As far as blood sugar fluctuation? Best thing I ever did was keto-adaption. Right now I do long distance bike riding (I only do rafting when they release the dam in the fall) and it keeps my insulin needs very low, and my blood sugars STEADY with no fear of dropping low. I can go for many hours with no fear. Granted I have the Dexcom. But a rushing river isn't the easiest place to pull our a receiver or do a finger stick.

Some resources on that:

Thanks for your response Katkat. I have never heard of keto-adaption, I will read your resource links.

When you say you use Skin-Tac with the Dex and Pod, how do you use it? Do you put it under the other adhesive tape that's already on the Pod/Dex? Or do you use it over the Pod/Dex? I was told not to put any tape over the Dex at all (which is a bummer), but that I could put tape over the Omnipod no problem. That's why I was wondering how you use it. Thanks :)

Skin tac goes between your skin and the Dex/Pod adhesive. I actually started putting it directly on the Dex adhesive (sticky side only), letting it dry a few minutes to tacky and then putting it on me instead of slathering it on my skin then putting on the Dex. I've found no difference in hold, and it is much less messy. I buy the liquid, not the wipes. Easier to deal with. Lasts forever. Some folks put a tegaderm patch over the Dexcom with success. I admin a G4 users group on FB and this works for some of our active swimmers. The Dexcom can lose communication with the receiver over 20 feet, or if excess water gets between the transmitter and sensor. Since your receiver will be more than 20 feet I don't think that is an issue, and the signal comes back pretty quick once the water dries (5 to 10 minutes?). But keeping it all intact is probably a good thing, and I think tegaderm may be worth looking into.

You apply it to the skin surface before applying the sensor adhesive pad. You need to let it completely dry before applying the device.

It's extremely sticky stuff, and stubborn as hell to clean residue off your fingers/etc., so be very careful and precise when using it. I started with the pads, and switched to the liquid bottle with the swabber integrated into the cap -- the pads are too imprecise, leaving skintac well outside the actual margins of the sensor or pod pad, and you get the stuff all over your fingers. Much easier to use the bottle swab to put it right where you need it and nowhere else.

Whether your use Skin Tac or not, Unisolve adhesive remover is really helpful for taking off the old sensors and pods, and if you use Skin Tac as well, the Unisolve is an absolute must. Again, as for Skin Tac, the liguid bottle here is a better choice than the wipes because you'll use generous amounts of Unisolve to completely remove the Skin Tac.

All of these images are hyperlinked, and will take you to the page where you can buy them. Convenience only... I have no connection with amazon other than being a customer.

Thanks again for the info. I will try to join the users group on FB, sounds useful.SkinTac and Tegaderm sound like good options.

Thanks for the photos with direct links, very helpful Dave! I was wondering how to get it off my skin, so the adhesive remover would be a lot less painful than ripping my skin off ;) Question, could you also swab it under the adhesive that's peeling up on a pod/Dex in order to tack it back down?

I use plain rubbing alcohol to remove mine. Works for me. No skin ripping. And Again, I never have to do anything for the pod, but for the Dex, if it starts curling up, I apply the skin tac, but I haven't had success dabbing it under the peeled part, because it needs to dry to tacky before you can re-stick it. What I have done is at that point, I put the skin tac on the outside Dex adhesive (it saturates it), and put medical tape over just the sticky part for about an hour, then I peel off the medical tape slowly, and for me, it's like a freshly applied sensor without the ugly tape.

I kitesurf a lot and do a bit of SUP and regular surf if no wind. I tend to wear the pods on my abdomen and use a tegaderm film on top to keep it fixed. While the tegaderm rarely keeps it dry, it does keep it in place even though the pod adhesive gets soft. You just have to be really careful when peeling off the film so you don't move the pod.

I tried skintac but found the wipes way too messy, and the bottles are unavailable here in the UK. The biggest challenge I have is with my waist harness; this can be a real pain. Prone paddling is tough too, but our surf is generally pretty weak so tend to SUP more then regular surf.

Thanks Pete! Curious what size Tegaderm film you use over the pod? Someone gave me a sample but it was too small to cover the entire thing.
I just got the Skintac in a bottle and it's good stuff. I agree the wipes were messy to use. My clothes ended up sticking to me when I tried them.

Don't worry about security in airports. I generally put the Pod on my upper abdomen between my waist and bra line so they can see it if need be. I have gone through the airport with four boxes of 10 Pods while wearing one also, and the most anyone has ever done is asked me to touch the Pod and then let them swab my fingers. You may be stopped, so just tell them what the Pods are and do what they ask you to do. Most TSA officers have become familiar with OmniPod by now. Another thing you should do if you travel overseas is to get a letter from your doctor explaining what equipment you need to carry. I always take one, although domestically I have never had to show it.

I have had no problems whatsoever with airport checks which almost makes me feel uncomfortable about how secure our airports really are!

  1. I generally wear my pod on the side of my butt cheek most of the time regardless if I’m surfing. Working great for surfing though and getting a wetsuit on and off you need to be careful but it works.
  2. I use opsite tape.
  3. I usually check every hour because I get anxiety if i don’t. I have a friend who surfs daily and when the waves are big double bags his Dexcom in a ziplock and wears it against his upper chest against his wetsuit so if he gets low it buzzes and warns him.
  4. Keep it in a cooler, i always have a cooler in my car with blue ice. I always have backup insulin and a needle so i don’t want to ruin the insulin.
  5. No
    6.-95% when i surf in heavy waves, maybe 50% if the paddling won’t be hard. Just depends on what my BG’s are before i surf and how much insulin i have taken the last 2 hours.
  6. No airport will ever give you crap. As soon as you tell them Diabetic and they see the proof with all your gear they will usher you through no problem.

Just remember you don’t want to get low out in the water, be careful and check when you feel you need too. There are pro surfers who are T1 so you’ll be fine.