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Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Magic Of A Tiki Swim

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

"The Tiki Swim is a great point-to-point swim," says Californian Lexie Kelly. "The course is really fun with a unique start in the ocean followed by dolphining and diving through the surf and then swimming north into the calm harbor.

It's a perfect race for triathletes because the swim distances are half and full Ironman distances. Race director Brian Long is very helpful, friendly, and passionate about the sport. When you finish you get a really fun race pack with some of the coolest swim swag including my favorite trucker hat and a fun atmosphere afterward."

John Hill of the Triathlon Club of San Diego explains the premise of the event in Oceanside, "We tried to put together an event that was fun for open water swimmers, yet also welcoming to triathletes with limited experience in the ocean for longer distances."

The Tiki Swim starts at the Oceanside Pier and follows the coastline up to the entrance to the harbor. It then enters the calm, protected waters of the harbor and finishes at a boat ramp. "The final three-quarters mile or so is in the protected water of the harbor where the coastline is very close to the swimmers. This is comforting to many of our swimmers if they have limited open water experience. It also duplicates the Oceanside Ironman 70.3 course. Open water swimmers enjoy the fact that we have outrigger canoes at the halfway point with water and gel packs. Since the harbor is closed to swimmers the rest of the year, it's their only chance to swim this course. For those new to the sport we do offer a 1.2-mile option that starts 1.2 miles closer to the finish. They swim out from the beach and join the same course as the longer swimmers. As a result, they get a quick taste of the ocean before turning into the harbor."

The swim is held within the celebration of Oceanside Harbor Days. The vendor area is extensive including impressive military hardware from nearby Camp Pendleton, a military base. Because it is a point-to-point start, Long provides double decker buses from the finish back to the start. Swimmers also receive a free pancake breakfast from the Oceanside Fire Department and can enjoy all kinds of Tiki decorations and custom awards. "We offer awards in both a swimsuit and wetsuit division so triathletes can try swimming without a wetsuit or swimmers can check their times with a wetsuit," offers Hill.

Swimmers can use a special discount code of OWS14 to receive a US$10 discount.

For more information on the Tiki Swim on September 28th, visit here.

Upper photo shows Amy Dantzler, Luane Rowe of FINIS and Lexie Kelly of the Open Water Swimming Club at the 2013 Tiki Swim in Oceanside, California.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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