If there is a hub of the open water swimming world, it is the race directors who work tirelessly to provide entertaining, safe and challenging open water swims around the world. They create local communities and annual celebrations of open water swims.
Chris Gardner of Hawaii is the race director for the North Shore Swim Series on Oahu in Hawaii and is typical of these hard-working, committed individuals.
The North Shore Swim Series is a 4-race series that started in the 1980s and is one of America’s Top 100 Open Water Swims. The first event is the Aloha Salads Summer Sprint, a 1-mile ocean swim from Sunset Beach to Ehukai Beach Park. The second event is the Cholo’s Waimea Bay Swim, a 1.2-mile ocean swim circling Waimea Bay. The third event is the JACO Chun’s to Waimea Bay Swim, a 1.6-mile swim starting at Chun’s Reef and ending at Waimea Bay. The fourth event is the Jamba Juice North Shore Challenge, a 2.3-mile ocean swim from Ehukai Beach Park to Waimea Bay.
North Shore Challenge is an enjoyable event for locals because the normally treacherous North Shore waters are calm in the summer and incredibly clear. The North Shore Challenge is a swim from one famous surf spot to another: the race begins at Ehukai Beach Park, the location of the famous Banzai Pipeline, and ends at Waimea Bay, the site of the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.
Gardner noted that lawyers were inexplicably drawn to the North Shore Challenge as they make up 10% of the 400 participants. He notes, “You can witness the ocean’s splendor in an unparalleled way. It is like swimming in an aquarium. The race is downstream, the trade winds blow with you, and the waves are flat in August.”
Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association