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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

3 For 3, The ʻAu I Nā Mokupuni ʻEkolu Swim Challenge

Courtesy of Carl Kawauchi, Hawaii Channel Association, Hawaii.

One of the uncompleted channel swims on the world's stage is a difficult triple crossing between the Hawaiian islands of Lanai, Maui and Molokai. Swimming non-stop between the 13.5 km Pailolo Channel, 14.9 km Kalohi Channel and 14.1 km Auau Channel is a quite long marathon swim, but theoretically it is not extraordinarily difficult.

On paper.

But in reality, the three-way crossing is a tremendous challenge. The triangular course crosses all kinds of currents where facing turbulence and oncoming winds is almost certainly a guarantee on at least one leg.

The Hawaiian triple has been on the radar of warm-water channel swimmers for at least the last 40 years. One of the earliest attempts of the triple crossing was done in 1989 where the then 50-year-old International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Harry Huffaker successful swam from Lanai to Maui, then quickly completed the next leg from Maui to Molokai, and then attempted to complete the final leg from Molokai to Maui - only to be pulled out of the angry ocean with howling winds after 18 hours.

The only other known triple crossing attempt made in the Hawaiian islands was made in January 2014 when Dr. Steve Minaglia completed a double crossing of the Auau Channel after swimming from Lanai to Maui to Lanai. He completed the two-way crossing in 10 hours and 33 minutes, but the third crossing fell short by 4.8 km to his goal on Maui.

But the 2014 three-way crossing set the stage for Dr. Minaglia to organize the ʻAu I Nā Mokupuni ʻEkolu Swim Challenge, a 3-day, 3-channel crossing across the channels between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai.

In October 2017, Dr. Minaglia and four other swimmers completed the challenge. In September 2018, Dr. Minaglia organized the event again and completed with five other swimmers. The event is recognized by Carl Kawauchi and sanctioned by Hawaii Channel Association:

* Dr. Steve Minaglia, 2018
* Van Cornwell, 2018
* Scott Schroeder, 2018
* Stephen Rouch, 2018
* Paul Towers, 2018
* Devon Clifford, 2018
* Dr. Steve Minaglia, 2017
* Devon Clifford, 2017
* Stefan Reinke, 2017
* Joe Zemaitis, 2017
* John Humenik, 2017

For more information, visit here.

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