Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The inaugural Great Pacific Race, a 3,862 km rowing race from California to Hawaii, is promoted as “the biggest baddest human endurance challenge on the planet.”

While that is a statement that ultra-marathon runners, channel swimmers, mountaineers, endurance cyclists and race drivers can easily debate, we tend to agree.

The 2,400-mile race from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii undoubtedly has an extremely high element of risk involved: anything can happen out in the Pacific Ocean.

While we had thought the Bering Strait Swim was the epitome of the biggest, baddest human endurance challenge on the planet for its 6-day relay swim in freezing waters between Russia and Alaska across the Bering Strait, we gotta hand it to the rowers – soloists, pairs and quads – who are two days into their estimated 30-90 day traverse across much of the Pacific Ocean.

Way out far, far, far from shore, anything can – and will – happen. To be that long away from help and so far away from shore, the inherent risk of injury and death are quite real.

Yet the dreams of adventurers and endurance athletes constantly drive them to seek, and then push, their limits. It is this inner drive and desire that open water swimmers can well relate to.

The Great Pacific Race information is here.

Photos courtesy of Ellen Hoke Photography.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association