The Waikiki Roughwater Swim is an annual tradition on Oahu since October 1970.
The brainchild of Jim Cotton, the 2.4-mile course is not only to one of America’s leading community swims, but it also gave birth to the swim leg of the Ironman triathlon. “The course has never been changed.
The distance has been stable throughout except for 1971 which was substantially shorter due to a strong current and trade winds,” recalls Jim.
“The main challenge was the first turn offshore from the Outrigger Canoe Club off Kaimana Beach. Beginning in about 1972, I deposited a jumble of junk-abandoned bicycles I got from the Honolulu Police Department. The shifting sand never covered them up completely and they did not present enough ‘sail’ area to be moved by the currents.
Both myself [for the first six year] and the succeeding generations of race directors were keen on tradition.”
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