The nominees for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year are always an eclectic mix of products, events and services that:
* best support and assist open water swimmers achieve their goals,
* are innovative, unique and beneficial to open water swimmers, race directors, coaches or administrators, and
* have made the most positive impact on the world of open water swimming during the calendar year.
The World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year is meant to identify products, services, events and organizations that (1) best support and assist open water swimmers achieve their goals, (2) are innovative, unique and beneficial to open water swimmers, race directors, coaches or administrators, and (3) have made the most positive impact on the world of open water swimming during the calendar year. The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year are unique products, services, events and organizations with an exceptional twist and extraordinary value to open water swimmers around the world.
The nominees for the 2016 World Open Water Offering of the Year are as follows:
1. Prison Island Swims (international)
Very few swims grab the imagination more that escaping from a Prison Island. The Triple Break, a bucket list coined by Ned Denison, has taken off with the help and enthusiastic embracing of Jacques Tuset who has completed 21 breaks around the world. With their encouragement and promotion, other swimmers can now identify, organize and attempt aquatic escapes from former and current (!) prison islands to nearby shorelines. What started off with Alcatraz Island, Spike Island and Robben Island has now expanded to over 30 dramatically exotic Breaks around the world. For completely transforming prison islands with horrific histories to beautiful locations for enjoyable solo swimming challenges, for identifying and promoting many more places around the world to attempt extreme swims of relatively short distances, for opening up swimmer’s creativity in viewing previously unavailable channel swimming opportunities, the concept of Prison Island Swims is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
2. KIM SWIMS (USA)
KIM SWIMS is much more and much deeper than its film title suggests. The documentary, directed by Kate Webber and co-produced with David Orr, celebrates the depth of both the human spirit and its relation to water as embodied by Kimberley Chambers, one of the few people who have completed the Oceans Seven. Trained as a classical ballerina, Chambers was transformed into a swimmer after barely escaping the amputation of her leg due to an accident. Told through Chambers’ completely improbable, mind-boggling and astonishing path to becoming one of the world’s most adventurous and accomplished open water swimmers, KIM SWIMS received Phase 1 funding on Kickstarter and is running Phase 2 on the Seed & Spark movie crowd-funding platform to bring the film to life. For the tear-inducing, inspirational message that the documentary delivers, for showcasing the unlikely transformation of a ballerina to a risk-taking channel swimmer, for delving deep inside the sport of open water swimming, KIM SWIMS is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
3. Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim (Turkey)
Swimming between continents is something that few people in the world rarely have an opportunity to do. But the Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim is excellently organized to offer this dramatic possibility to thousands of people every year. The National Olympic Committee of Turkey has grown the 6.5 km point-to-point traverse of the Istanbul Strait from 68 swimmers in 1989 to nearly 5,000 applicants from 52 countries from all walks of life. Boat traffic in the strait is stopped once per year on this day when people challenge themselves against shifting currents and tidal flows with logistics and a wide safety net at their protection. For providing the self-satisfaction and challenge of a cross-continental swim from the Asian continent to the European continents to 2,200 swimmers, for organizing an aquatic challenge across a dynamic body of water in an iconic location, and for the joyful multi-cultural, multi-lingual ambiance of swimmers from around the world, the Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Bruckner and Michelle Chase along with Ocean Positive, Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital, ABC Medical and the City of Upper Township enable a diverse community of athletes to unite in discovering a personal connection to the ocean. The boldly innovative program in New Jersey creates transformative evidence-based ocean engagement experiences to positively impact the fitness, well-being and quality of life. For those unwilling to accept just being an observer on shore, the program brings together ocean lifeguards, triathletes and swimmers of all ages and abilities to help those with spinal cord injuries learn how to train and race through swimming and surf lifesaving-inspired sports. Through the Legion of Ocean Heroes Surf Lifesaving Festival, able-bodied and challenged athletes compete side-by-side as paddlers and swimmers. Spinal cord injured athletes leave their wheelchairs behind to explore their potential as ocean athletes while members of the community learn the value in training together. For their vision to unite communities by linking them to the open water, for their innovative use of the water to overcome isolation, for their belief in the strength, passion and vision that can positively impact our world, the Ocean City Swim Club Unified Team / Legion of Ocean Heroes Surf Lifesaving Festivals are a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
5. KAATSU Aqua (Japan)
Olympic marathon swimmers use it and those rehabilitating from knee surgeries use it. Enhancing micro-circulation and vein elasticity have become big topics in the professional sports leagues like the NFL and NBA and among Olympians both for enhanced athletic performance and rapid rehabilitation, but innovations rarely sprout from the aquatic world. The blood flow moderation modality can be used by dryland athletes undergoing aqua-therapy or by swimmers of any age and any walk of life who are trying to improve their swimming speed, strength and stamina. For its ingenuity in eliciting rapid recovery from injury or competition, for its safety and efficacy in enhancing aquatic performance, for its reach to help both fitness swimmers and Olympic champions, KAATSU Aqua is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
6. Hawaiʻi Tiger Shark Tracking (USA)
Sharks have always been one of the most feared aspects of ocean swimming. But, in fact, relatively few open water swimmers have experienced shark encounters in the ocean and even fewer have been attacked by sharks. But with a spike in the number of shark encounters in Maui, government officials and researchers endeavored to track tiger sharks and learn more about their movements and habitats. After a two-period period of tagging with satellite and acoustic tags and tracking these large sharks off Hawaii coastal waters, the data was offered online to the general public. For its efforts in educating the public about the presence of sharks near ocean recreational areas, for its offering of objective data and research findings about sharks to the scientific community, for its fascinating online animation of shark movements, the Hawaiʻi Tiger Shark Tracking system is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
7. OceanFit (Australia)
OceanFit combines the best of the sport: enjoying the ocean and fitness in an easy-to-navigate, easy-to-understand, easy-to-appreciate offering of ocean swimming events, training and education. The Bondi Beach service provider from Sydney helps swimmers of all ages and abilities become comfortable and safe in the ocean by clinics, lessons and online content. Conveniently packaged information is offered online and in person by founder Andre Slade to hundreds of ocean goers. More importantly, OceanFit has sent over $430,000 in fundraising revenue to the surf life saving clubs for organizing the events that, in turn, is used for saving lives on beaches in Australia. For its comprehensive ocean event calendar with helpful tips, for its useful newsletters and fun-loving ocean swim squads, for its detailed descriptions, videos and photos that showcase and financially support ocean swims all over Australia, OceanFit is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
8. The Power of Swimming or Simma med Stjärnorna (Sweden)
The Power of Swimming or “Swimming with the Stars” by the Swedish Swimming Federation and E. ON is a virtual reality project that helps hydrophobic children learn to swim. As virtual reality is a very powerful, experiential and inspirational tool easily accepted by the youngest generations, this project begins to reduce the sobering fact that 20% of Swedish children cannot swim – despite living in a land of lakes surrounded by the sea. Through a 360-degree below-the-surface experience, children begin to overcome their fear of water and take a virtual plunge with members of the Swedish swim team. For inspiring children to take their first strokes, for helping those who fear the water to take the plunge, for inviting viewers to order free virtual reality goggles to use at home and find their nearest local swimming association, The Power of Swimming is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
9. Wildswim.com (United Kingdom)
Wildswim.com is an interactive worldwide crowd-sourced swim map that provides information about open water swimming around the world. Wildswim.com defines different kinds of collections in seas, lakes, rivers, lidos, tidal pools, estuaries, and hot springs, and lists opportunities for wild swimming as dips, swims, journeys, crossings, endurance, jumping, exploring, skinny dipping, and family-friendly swims in myriad locations and waterways. First created by Kate Rew and Jonathan Joyce, the user-friendly, sublimely shareable, extraordinarily useful global swim map is supported by The Outdoor Swimming Society and enables users to input, share and add information, photos and safety information. For its supreme ease-of-usefulness, for its practicality in introducing new locations for swimmers around the world, for its celebration and promotion of wild swimming, Wildswim.com is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
10. Instabeat (International)
Instabeat is the first all-in-one heart rate monitor with real-time feedback that seamlessly attaches to swimming goggles. Pool and open water swimmers can enjoy and educate themselves by use of a cardiac ECG-level heart rate target zone monitor that attaches to their goggles. Waterproof, insightful, educational, and potentially, life-saving, the heart rate monitor is located on the most convenient place possible for a swimmer. For its creativity and ingenuity, for its waterproof non-intrusiveness, for its very real potential for saving lives by alerting swimmers and their coaches and crew members while in training, during solo crossings, and in races about their heart rate, the Instabeat is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
11. Terroir Project Collection (Denmark)
Planet Earth is 70% ocean and there is a seemingly endless amount of common brown algae that washes up along shorelines around the world. Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts graduate students Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt developed a means to transform fucus seaweed from the Danish coast and create chairs and design lamps that allow for maximum strength and minimum weight. Their methodology of drying and grinding the seaweed, cooking into a glue, and then combining with paper led to a sustainable material that is malleable, durable and colorful enough to use as furniture and home products. For their innovative utilization of biodegradable seaweed for household use, for their clever discovery and testing of a suitable production process, for their beautiful design of shapes, surfaces and silhouettes that shows what the ocean can provide, the Terroir Project Collection is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
12. Agar Plasticity (Japan)
Team Agar, led by Japanese designers Kosuke Araki, Noriaki Maetani and Akira Muraoka, created Agar Plasticity that explores using agar, a substance derived from marine algae in consumer packaging. With the planet’s oceans gradually filling up with non-biodegradable products unused and discarded by humanity the world over, a crisis is looming that out-of-the-box thinkers and tinkers are focusing on coming up with innovative solutions to help improve and maintain Mother Nature. For their bold and ambitious experiment that addresses one of the biggest pollution problems of modern time, for their production of earth-friendly drinking vessels made from marine algae, for winning the grand prize at the Lexus Design Awards global competition, the Agar Plasticity project is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Lynne Cox’s voice has echoed across the waterways since she authored her first book, Swimming to Antarctica, in 2004. After setting channel records in her teens, engaging in international diplomacy with her unprecedented Bering Strait swim in 1987, and completing more than 60 extraordinary swims around the world, Cox cemented her legacy with a series of books, delving into a number of profound topics. Swimming in the Sink: An Episode of the Heart is arguably her most touching and surprising book, intertwining her strength of character and renown athleticism with human frailties that come from illness and grief. For writing about subjects that everyone can relate to, for showing a different side of her strengths and weaknesses, for writing so eloquently from her most generous heart, Swimming in the Sink: An Episode of the Heart is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Doug Woodring found himself surrounded by discarded plastics and rubbish while diving in a remote marine protected area. He was struck by the need to improve the world’s ocean for future generations. He created the NGO, Ocean Recovery Alliance, and recently launched the Global Alert Platform, an innovative, online tool that allows people to report, rate and map plastic pollution levels in their local watersheds or coastlines via their mobile devices and computers. For creating a platform and database to help broaden public awareness about the plastic crises anywhere in the world that negatively affects the health of our waters, for managing a global flow of information that can spur solutions to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, rivers and lakes, for enabling people to report problems and generate data on trash-hotspots via an easy-to-use mobile monitoring tool and online maps, the Global Alert Platform is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
15. Blue Mind Summits (international)
Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D. created a new field called neuroconservation where he has tied neuroscience, psychology, nature, art, conservation, and poetry with activities in, around and under the water. With healthful benefits and positive outcomes extending to public health, education, parenting, business, coastal planning, travel, real estate, sports and recreation, the Blue Mind Summits are fascinating, informative meetings attended by scientists, ocean advocates, artists and open water swimmers. Collaborators participate in the Blue Mind Summits to introduce and discuss concrete solutions that help change the way people think, feel and act towards water. For his establishment of a science and practice that restores and rebuilds mankind’s personal, ancient and emotional connection with healthy waterways, for his melding of myriad areas in science, art and sport to support Blue Mind Life, for his organization and inspiration of like-minded people in the field of neuroconservation who understand the profound benefits of interacting with water, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols’ Blue Mind Summit is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Previous recipients of the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year include:
2012: SWIM Channel by Patrick Winkler (Brazil)
2013: International Ice Swimming Association (international)
2014: Step Out Of The Ordinary Blue Letter Campaign by Pádraig Mallon (Ireland)
2015: World Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk, Russia
To vote for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year, visit the WOWSA Awards here.
Voting continues until December 31st 2016.
Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association