Creative types abound in the open water swimming world. Some are artists, some are marketers, some are designers. And a few have all those abilities.

These swimmers possess a great ability to capture the individuality and uniqueness of people, places and things. Waterman Robert Rekward of Hanaleo on the island of Kauai is one of those talented personalities.

Together with his wife and co-owner Valerie Rekward, the duo has developed a plethora of outstanding advertisements, websites, advertising campaigns for firms and individuals for over 20 years in Hawaii and elsewhere. Enveloped and inspired by the natural beauty of Kauai that surround them, they have continued to make Kauai home of their artistry and creativity.

45-year-old Robert is a relative newcomer to open water swimming, but he has been comfortable in the water for decades.

I surfed for about 18 years and could always swim well enough to keep from drowning. But I didn’t really learn to love swimming until a few years ago when I started to race triathlons. After a while, my friends sort of dragged me along on some longer open water swims and pretty quickly I was hooked. Now I try to swim in the ocean a couple times a week.”

With the Garden Isle of Kauai as his home base, Rekward has a plethora of beautiful locations to swim. But he still have his favorites, “Ke’e Beach [on the north shore of Kauai] to Hanakapiai Beach is my favorite place to swim. It’s an adventure that starts in a placid lagoon, traverses dramatic sea cliffs with some open ocean rough water, and ends on a remote beach. On an average day, it’ll take about 45 minutes to complete the swim. We pull our shoes in a dry bag and finish the workout with a 2 mile trail run back to the car — followed by breakfast.”

On days where he doesn’t swim on the north shore of his home island, Rekward can always go to the south shore. “Swimming the south shore is like swimming in a giant aquarium. The usual cast of tropical fish and green sea turtles are guaranteed to be in the water with you. Lately, I’ve seen a few spotted eagle rays and they’re pretty amazing.”

But paradise does demand a local knowledge. “Because the ocean around Kauai is really dangerous — even for good swimmers — swimming with a local who’s experienced with the currents and conditions is a requirement. I recommend spots with a fairly high margin of safety like Poipu Beach, Hanalei Bay, and Anini which are all great places to swim.”

Even when the marine life is not abundant in the waters of Kauai, there is a whole lot to see – for short swims or marathon swims. “The Hanalei Bay Swim Challenge is a cool event even if the sandy bottom isn’t the most interesting terrain to swim over and you don’t see many fish. But the clear water, mountains, and waterfalls make up that. Hanalei Bay is logistically the best spot for a 10 km marathon swim, but a point-to-point course on the south shore or Napali Coast would be an adventure to remember.”

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association