There are nine main channels between the largest islands in the state of Hawaii. Eight of which have been successfully crossed with one giant channel remaining with more and more marathon swimmers trying to overcome the large swells, raw tropical beauty, strong currents and abundant marine life at the channels. To date, the successful swimmers in the following channels include the following.
We can’t help but notice the names of Linda Kaiser, Bill Goding, Quinn Carver, Carl Kawauchi, Harry Huffaker and Mike Miller that seem to frequently pop up:
1. The Kaiwi Channel, 26 miles (42K) from Molokai to Oahu:
1961: Keo Nakama
1967: Harry Huffaker
1972: Harry Huffaker (Oahu to Molokai)
1974: Jonathan Ezer
1979: Mike Miller, Ian Emberson
1994: Robin Isayama (first female)
2006: Forrest Nelson (Molokai to Oahu), Forrest Nelson (Oahu to Molokai), Bill Goding
2007: Mike Spalding, Kelly Gleason, Linda Kaiser
2009: Mackenzie Miller (shown above)
2010: Chris Palfrey
2. The Kalohi Channel, 9.3 miles (14.9) from Lanai to Molokai:
1978: Bob Justman, Jody Pollack
1989: Harry Huffaker (Molokai to Lanai), Carl Kawauchi (Molokai to Lanai), Terry Chodosh, Ulrich Klinke
1991: Linda Kaiser (Molokai to Lanai), Janice Vierra
1995: Carl Kawauchi, Bill Costello, Alton Motobu
2007: Carl Kawauchi (Molokai to Lanai), Mike Spalding (Molokai to Lanai), Laurie Foster, Kelly Gleason, Tom Burke
3. The Alalakeiki Channel, 7 miles (11.2K) from Kahoolawe to Maui:
1977: Bill Lawrence, Solomon Fernandez
1992: Carl Kawauchi, Ulrich Klinke, Alton Motobu
2001: Linda Kaiser, Laurie Foster, Mike Spalding
2006: Carl Kawauchi, Alton Motobu
4. The Palilolo Channel, 8.5 miles (13.6K) from Maui to Molokai:
1973: Jim Caldwell
1989: Linda Kaiser, Mike Spalding, Janice Vierra (1990), Harry Huffaker, Jim Jonsson
1993: Carl Kawauchi (Molokai to Maui in 1993), Dennis Blake, Vernon Knight, Joe Nagi
1998: Carl Kawauchi, Bill Costello, Alton Motobu
2004: Ginny Walsh
2005: Jim Sorensen
2006: Billy Brown, Karen Finnerty, Joe Glenn
2008: Bill Goding, Quinn Carver
2009: Carl Kawauchi, Chris Palfrey
5. The Alenuihaha Channel, 30 miles (48.2K) from Hawaii to Maui:
1970: Harry Huffaker
2009: Penny Palfrey (first female), Linda Kaiser
7. The Kealaikahiki Channel, 17 miles (27.3K) from Kahoolawe to Lanai:
2005: Linda Kaiser, Laurie Foster, Mike Spalding
2009: Quinn Carver, Bill Goding
8. The wildly popular Auau Channel, 8.8 miles from Lanai to Maui:
1970: Jim Caldwell
1977: Bob Luce, Bob Justman, Judy Collins, Doug Rice (Lanai to Maui), Steve Bobko, Gary Niemeyer, Richard Merritt, Bill Goding, Jim Roumasset, Archie Hapai.
1983: Jim Cole, Marc Feizner, Mike Spalding, Jim Krueger, Carol Lee.
1984: Steve Bobko, Ian Emberson, Rick Heltzel, Mike Miller, Doug Rice.
1987: Harry Huffaker, Carl Kawauchi, Ulrich Klinke, Terry Chodoshi, Bruce Sloan, Chris Cox, Ken Frank, Vernon Knight, Jim Krueger, Tim McNulty, Steve Rudolph, Peter Schegel, Diane Stowell.
1988: Sarah Burch, Mike Sullivan, Cliff Pollard, Jeff Conner, Amy Williams, Bill Tucker, Elizabeth Kent.
1989: Janice Vierra, Linda Kaiser, Gary Morita, Tony Rivera, Peter Kang, Alton Motobu, Keith Arakaki, Alfie Calpito, Ham Homan, Steve Watkins, Mari Okazaki, Tina Niell, Charlie Hansen, Gary Gibo, Bruce Jamieson, Harry Huffaker, Harry Huffaker.
1990: Rick Heltzel, Mike Miller.
1991: Katie Anderson, Langley Frisell, Chad Harrison, Leif Johnson.
1993: Robin Isayama, Tom Billings.
1995: Chana Motobu.
1996: Mike Coyle, Jeff Hawk.
1997: John Dunbar, Cheryl Loomis.
1999: Jim Mellon, John Derr, Bruce Wetta.
2000: Anne Cleveland, Debbie Collins, Shane Collins, Ken Harmom, Dave Matthews.
2001: Bill Goding, Dan Veatch, Dave Matthews, Patrick Mcmillan, Deaann Joslin, Anne Cleveland, Richard LeBolt, Laura Colette.
2002: James Sorenson, Adrienne Mason, Bill Goding, Dave Matthews, Mason Bailey, Craig Taylor, Emily Evans, Becky Jackman, Laura Colette, Christiana Tangora, Mike Miller, Malcolm Cooper.
2003: Bill Goding, Paul Lundgren, Bob Childs, Douglas Bosley, Kevin Smith, Kak Cook, Kiko Aumond, Shane Collins, John Farrington, Rick Avila, Carol Sing, Debbie Collins, Laura Colette, Carl Kawauchi (Maui to Lanai), Alton Motobu, Bill Costello, John Nielsen, Jim Emmons, Billy Brown.
2004: Bill Goding, Alan Bell, Abel Tong, Bruckner Chase, Bill Dick, Graham Johnston, David Harrison, Bernd Straehie, Deann Joslin, Aaron Schmaltz, Paulo de Azevedo, Mike Miller, Jessa Baker, Elise Baker, Mackenzie Miller, Mark Baker.
2005: Marcos Diaz (Lanai To Maui), Bill Goding, Alan Bell, Michelle Deasy, Brad Horner, Kevin Polansky, Shery Kitrell, Shane Collins, Debbie Collins, Amer Rhett, Chad Schneider, Steve Royce, Alice Wong, Steve Diforte, Elise Baker, Kaylen Baker, Aaron Schmaltz, Sean Schmaltz, Jorge Gago, Michelle Vawer, Rachel Randall, Terry Richmond, Mark Baker, Tommy Randall, Billy Brown (Maui to Lanai), Joe Glenn.
2006: Todd Robinson, Bill Goding, Forrest Nelson, Matt Smart, Alex Knibbs, Chis Day, Rance Boren, Dea Ann Joslin, Michelle Deasy, Laura Jenkins, Andrew Davis, Ian Murray, Donielle Chitterden, Kawikanoron Cook, Jennifer Locke, Vladimir Dyatchin, Dana Atkins.
2007: Todd Robinson, Robert Breitel, Bill Goding, Quinn Carver, Lisa Hazen, Chloe McCardel, Peter Worland, Gregg Shields, Teague Soderman, Kevin Smith, Gabriel Mecs, Michelle Santilhano.
2008: Peter Attia (double crossing), Elise Baker, Mark Baker, Carey Colbert, Katie Dalgamouni, Patrick Haluptzok, Colin Hortman, Erin Kirley, MacKenzie Miller, Nick Pederson, Rachel Randall, Chance Usrey, Garrett Usrey, Bill Goding, Alan Voisard, Sam Worden, Moby Coquillard, Steve Lowe, Dea Ann Joslin, James Barkman, Doug Pritchard, David Rich, Pam Dickson, Mark Cibula, Becca Mann (age 10), Steve Green.
2009: Todd Robinson, Peter Worland, Bill Goding, Jeff Cleveland, Laurin Weisenthal, James Paisley, Hudson Slay, Scott Berek, Barbara Held, Greg Kearney, Matt Smart, Alastair Hulbert, Bob Lowney, James Goins, John Farrington, John Derr, Tom Heckler, Samantha McIntosh, Chris Palfrey, Penny Palfrey.
2010: Elizabeth Schlicher, Bill Goding, Steve Lowe, Elizabeth Wood, John Becker, Dave Matthews, Brad Schindler, Billy Brown, James Barnman, Joanna Cain, Rebecca Neavitt, Barbara Held, Marcella MacDonald, Jennifer Stabrylla, Bret Barasch, John Gomersall, Martin Palfrey, Dave Barra, Terry Laughlin, Willie Miller.
9. The ninth and as-yet-uncrossed channel is the Kaieiewaho (Kauai) Channel, 63 very challenging nautical miles between Oahu and Kauai that was attempted in the 1970’s by Jonathan Ezer who faced literally a wall and sea of water with tremendous winds and Penny Palfrey in 2010 who was severely attacked by a wall of Portuguese man-o-war. While the maximum depth of the Auau Channel (Lanai-Maui) is 108 feet (33 meters), the depth of the Kaiwi Channel (Molokai-Oahu) is 2,300 feet (701 meters) and the depth of Alenuihaha Channel (Hawaii-Maui) is 6,100 feet (1,900 meters), the depth of the Kaieiewaho Channel (Kauai-Oahu) is over 10,000 feet (3,040 meters).
In our opinion, if any solo swimmer ultimately crosses the Kaieiewaho Channel, it will surely be one of the greatest moments in open water swimming history.
If there are any updates or corrections to this Hawaii channel swimmer list for the Kaiwi Channel, the Kalohi Channel, the Alalakeiki Channel, the Palilolo Channel, the Alenuihaha Channel, the Kaulakahi Channel, the Kealaikahiki Channel, the wildly popular Auau Channel and the Kaieiewaho (Kauai) Channel, please email the Editor-in-Chief here.
Also, if any swimmer on this Hawaii channel swimmer list was at least 50 years old at the time of their successful crossing, please email the Editor-in-Chief so these swimmers can be added to the Hawaiian Islands Channel Half Century Club.
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