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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ka'iwi Channel Swim, Ready For An Epic Undertaking

Jeff Kozlovich and Steve Haumschild are organizing the first Ka'iwi Channel Swim this August and entries are pouring in. 28 miles across the Ka’iwi Channel from Kaluako'i on the west shore of Molokai to Sandy Beach on the east shore of Oahu.

In a few words, it will be the gnarliest, riskiest, most difficult relay competition ever attempted. No doubt about that.

Ask any swimmer who has done both the English Channel and the Molokai Channel about the relative difficulty of both.

Michael Miller, Forrest Nelson, Darren Miller, Michelle Macy, Anna-Carin Nordin, Samantha Simon, Penny Palfrey, Stephen Redmond, Adam Walker, Michael Ventre, Kathleen Wilson, Beth French - and Greta Andersen who completed 5 English Channel swims but failed on her Molokai Channel attempts - will colorfully describe the relative difficulty of the Ka'iwi Channel. They will confirm the immense challenge of the waterway between the islands of Molokai and Oahu, known as the Channel of Bones.

But Kozlovich and Haumschild are making it a go, offering swimmers an opportunity to take on one of the greatest challenges in the open water swimming world: a crossing of the Molokai Channel (Ka’iwi Channel) in the Ka’iwi Channel Swim (website is posted here).

The race will be held on August 24th, 2013 and is limited to 40 teams of 2 or 6 swimmers. Kozlovich say, "The race will put some meaning back into the word epic."

While there have been 29 swimmers recorded as having crossed the Ka’iwi Channel on their own, this is the first organized team race across the channel. Both Haumschild and Kozlovich have served as personal escorts to Bill Goding, Penny Palfrey, Darren Miller, Oliver Wilkinson, and others. "Our experiences have led us to imagine an event that would bring the giants of the field to compete with, and against, each other, with a healthy representation of the open water swimming community joining in on the fun."

But this relay is not just for the elites; it is for the experienced and courageous. Haumschild and Kozlovich mention on their blog, "This is shaping up to be one incredible race that will strengthen the open water swimmer presence in Hawaii and create amazing memories and friendships around the world."

Haumschild says, "The race participants are some of the most competitive, experienced and trained athletes in the world."

Registration is now open. For more information, visit the Ka’iwi Channel Swim website here or contact Jeff Kozlovich at kozhawaii@gmail.com.

"If swimmers want, they can do the Maui Channel Swim from Lanai to Maui the following Saturday, and then the Waikiki Roughwater Swim the next Monday. It is a good way to see Hawaii from a fish-eye view," explains Linda Kaiser, one of the solo Molokai Channel swimmers.

The Molokai Channel is also site of the world-renowned Na Wahine O Ke Kai canoe race along roughly the same course (see photo of conditions above and video below).

As Kozlovich explains, "The Ka'iwi Channel Swim Race is the most dangerous long distance swim on the planet. This race is like no other. This is ultimate proving ground. Increased dangers of this event exist beyond typical ocean swim events including rapidly changing weather conditions, and absolute remoteness where assistance or rescue is NOT guaranteed and should not be depended on. Logistics are complex. Its best to think this is part race and part expedition. The Ka'iwi Channel is rightfully considered one of the most dangerous channels in the world and the ultimate decision to compete in this event should be heavily and carefully considered."

The date is set. The challenge has been offered. The 26 miles (42 km) will be epic, no doubt about it.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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