Alooooha, Honolulu. No Ka Oi In The Open Water

Alooooha, Honolulu. No Ka Oi In The Open Water

In creating a list of great American areas for open water swimming (see here), we purposefully put Honolulu, Hawaii as Number One (no ka oi).

After swimming around the world and observing swimmers and reporting on events on five continents, there are many scenic locations and wonderfully hospitable communities of open water swimmers, but there were many reasons for listing Honolulu (on the island of Oahu) first.

Here is our list of the top 25 reasons:

1. Open water swimming has been a tradition on Oahu for centuries.
2. Great swimmers have come from Oahu from Duke Kahanamoku to Keo Nakama, from Kathy Shipman to Nadine Day.
3. Dozens of open water swimming competitions from 1 km to 7 km are held throughout the year.
4. Waikiki Beach is one of the most picturesque, crowded, open water swimming-friendly beaches in the world.
5. Honolulu City & County Lifeguards are extraordinarily knowledgeable, well-trained and constantly on alert year-round.**
6. Surfers – willing to help swimmers in need – dot the coastline.
7. Great marathon swims including solo Oceans Seven crossings across the Molokai Channel and competitive relay competitions like the Ka’iwi Channel Swim are held.
8. Gorgeous marine scenery never hesitates to fascinate.
9. Wonderfully comfortable water temperatures are always inviting.
10. Tropical scenery, resort hotels and volcanos serve as landmarks.
11. Original home of the Ironman Triathlon and the Waikiki Roughwater Swim.
12. Wonderful aloha spirit of the local swimming community and the hundreds of thousands of residents of Honolulu.
13. Plenty of hotels and accommodations for visitors.
14. Warm showers and changing rooms available at every beach park.
15. Challenging conditions can be found from the North Shore in winter to wind-whipped days on the island’s South Shore.
16. Marine life is abundant and can always be seen dotting in and out of coral reefs.
17. Ample parking at most beach parks.
18. Numerous restaurants and local eating establishments are available within minutes of getting out of the water.
19. Sandy beaches with warm sand friendly to your feet.
20. An active, healthy, hospitable open water swimming community including the long-established Waikiki Swim Club.
21. An active, energetic, friendly triathlon and multi-sport community where watermen and waterwomen abound.
22. Arguably the most used ocean swimming venue in the world: the Ala Moana Beach Park.
23. Local post-swim delicacies like pupus and plate lunches.
24. Rainbows, sunrises and sunsets that never cease to amaze.
25. Experienced coaches, race directors, escort pilots, lifeguards, paddlers and kayakers can be easily found.

Great Cities In America for Open Water Swimming:
1. Honolulu, Hawaii
2. San Francisco, California
3. La Jolla (San Diego), California (shown above)
4. Boston, Massachusetts
5. New York/Brooklyn, New York
6. Atlantic City/Ocean City, New Jersey
7. Miami, Florida
8. Washington D.C.
9. Indianapolis/Noblesville, Indiana
10. Chicago, Illinois
11. Austin, Texas
12. Miami, Florida
13. Laguna Beach (Orange County), California

** The Honolulu lifeguards and local volunteers proven their abilities to respond to emergencies when 600 swimmers competing in the 2003 Waikiki Roughwater Swim got in trouble and 361 swimmers were rescued and all were safe. The situation and background are explained below by Ralph Goto, the Ocean Safety Administrator of the Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division of the City & County of Honolulu in Hawaii.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones