Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In a land far, far away in a language that few understand and even fewer can read, Masayuki Moriya’s Ocean-navi help dozens of swimmers navigate the Tsugaru Channel in Japan and many places around the Pacific Rim.

Besides Darren Miller (USA), Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Adam Walker (Great Britain), Mo Siegel (USA), Santosh Patil (India), Brad McVetta (USA) and Yesenia Cabrera Fuegos (Guatemala), Ocean-navi helped over 3 dozen Japanese relay swimmers attempt the 19 km Tsugaru Channel during the 2013 season that runs from June to October.

With the help of Yuko Matsuzaki and Captain Mizushima and a slew of hard-working volunteers, Ocean-navi has brought channel swimming to Japan and to the greater marathon swimming community around the world.

Ocean-navi was nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year for its unparalleled service in the English Channel of the Far East. Its nomination read, “The citizens of the island nation of Japan have always enjoyed and respected swimming. Its best swimmers have won Olympic gold. But Ocean-navi is elevating open water swimming to another level by introducing and guiding newcomers to the ocean, from Borneo to Hokkaido. Ocean-navi and Masayuki Moriya took 42 swimmers across the Tsugaru Channel and conducted numerous ocean swimming tours for masters and triathletes in 2013. Ocean-navi is making open water swimming fun and educational, not only for native Japanese but also for visiting foreigners interested in a land shrouded in mystery, cloaked in unknown customs with an indecipherable language. For its efforts to help swimmers tackle the Tsugaru Channel, for its efforts to conduct open water swimming tours, camps and clinics in a fun learning environment, Ocean-navi’s services are a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

And crossing the Tsugaru Channel is not as easy as it appears with a short 19.5 km distance between Honshu and Hokkaido. Its winds are fierce and its eddies are wholly unpredictable and changing hourly. Given the jigsaw contours of the two islands, the turbulent eddies cause all kinds of frustrations for swimmers who come in overly confident.

Comparing the times of the channel crossings of the 14 swimmers who have crossed the 21-mile English Channel, the 20.2-mile Catalina Channel and the 12-mile Tsugaru Channel, the average times are comparable:*

* English Channel = 13 hours 23 minutes
* Catalina Channel = 12 hours 31 minutes
* Tsugaru Channel = 13 hours 39 minutes (not including 3 DNFs, see below)

David Yudovin (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: 11:56 (1990)
* English Channel: 13:37 (1986)
* Catalina Channel: 11:56 (1976) , 13:45 (1986) 11:49 (1993), 10:46 (1995)

Miyuki Fujita (Japan)
* Tsugaru Channel: 11:36 (2005)
* English Channel: 17:03 and 13:41 (2005), 13:34 (2006), 13:59 and 13:54 (2007) 14:02 (2008), 17:18 (2009) 18:14 (2011)

Penny Palfrey (Australia)
* Tsugaru Channel: 14:26 (2011)
* English Channel: 9:16 (2006) and 9:07 (2007)
* Catalina Channel: 10:36 (2010)

Darren Miller (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: 15:55 (2012)
* English Channel: 12:04 (2010)
* Catalina Channel: 9:15 (2011)

Stephen Redmond (Ireland)
* Tsugaru Channel: 12:45 (2012)
* English Channel: 20:01 (2009)
* Catalina Channel: 12:39 (2011)

Michelle Macy (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: 8:55 (2012)
* English Channel: 10:02 (2007) 11:37 (2009) 10:35 (2012)
* Catalina Channel: 10:12 (2008)

Forrest Nelson (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: 9:26 (2012)
* English Channel: 10:33 (2005)
* Catalina Channel: 10:35 (2004)

Craig Lenning (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: 10:44 (2012)
* English Channel: 11:25 (2010)
* Catalina Channel: 9:09 (2009)

Pat Gallant-Charette (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: 19:36 (2012)
* English Channel: 15:57 (2011)
* Catalina Channel: 14:11 (2011)

Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden)
* Tsugaru Channel: 19:11 (2012)
* English Channel: 12:00 (2010)
* Catalina Channel: 12:40 (2012)

Adam Walker (Great Britain)
* Tsugaru Channel: 15:31 (2013)
* English Channel: 11:35 (2008)
* Catalina Channel: 12:15 (2012)

Mo Siegel (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: DNF (2013)
* English Channel: 14:18 (2010)
* Catalina Channel: 13:08 (2011)

Brad McVetta (USA)
* Tsugaru Channel: DNF (2013)
* English Channel: 14:56 (2011)
* Catalina Channel: 11:24 (2011)

Yesenia Cabrera Fuegos (Guatemala)
* Tsugaru Channel: DNF (2013)
* English Channel: 13:19 (2008)
* Catalina Channel: 15:19 (2011)

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year includes a variety of products, services and concepts:

1. 21 Yaks and A Speedo, Storytelling Life Lessons by Lewis Pugh (U.K.)
2. Amphibia Sports Ring, Simple Silicone Solution For Swimmers (Ireland)
3. Bold & Beautiful, A Pod by the Shore (Australia)
4. Driven, Documenting Distance and Dedication (U.S.A.)
5. FINIS Agility Paddles, Training Tools of the Trade (U.S.A.)
6. Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Culminating In Cork (Ireland)
7. International Ice Swimming Association, Cooling To The Extreme (South Africa)
8. Ocean-navi, Navigating Throughout The Pacific (Japan)
9. Ocean Swimming & Prone Paddleboarding for Athletes with Spinal Cord Injuries (U.S.A.)
10. Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert’s Survival Guide by Lynne Cox (U.S.A.)
11. Oru Kayak, Origami of the Open Water (U.S.A.)
12. Ouma Academy, Swimming The Sea (Tunisia)
13. Plastic Disclosure Project by Ocean Recovery Alliance (Hong Kong)
14. Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Far Forward Thinking In The Ocean (U.S.A.)
15. Swim Smooth, Styling Streamlined Swimming (Australia/U.K.)

Online voting takes place here.



Masayuki Moriya of Ocean-navi is shown on the far left in the upper photo with translator Mika Tokairin, channel swimmer Brad McVetta and Captain Mizushima. Video of Adam Walker’s Tsugaru Channel crossing produced by Masayuki Moriya of Ocean-navi.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association