The History Of The Waikiki Roughwater Swim

The History Of The Waikiki Roughwater Swim

The Waikiki Roughwater Swim Committee put together a detailed history of its popular event.

The first Waikiki Roughwater Swim was held in 1970 under the leadership of Jim Cotton at a time when there were no high-profile open water swims, runs, triathlons or biking events in Hawaii.

The inspiration of Jim’s concept for the Waikiki Roughwater Swim was based on the original La Jolla Rough Water Swim that started in 1916 just north of San Diego, California. According to Jim who lived nearby, the original swim was swum across the La Jolla Bay from Scripps Pier to La Jolla Cove 1.7 miles away. The motivation to swim to the far distant shore was an incentive to many swimmers.

In mimicking the point-to-point course and motivational goal of swimming to a distant shore like the La Jolla Rough Water Swim, Jim’s goal was to develop a community swim that offered the opportunity for anyone to swim to the far distant shore from the foot of Diamond Head volcano to the beachfront of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

The entire history of the event can be seen here.

Photo courtesy of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim Committee shows Peter Cole, Paul Johnstone, Ian Emberson and Marc Finley, the early pioneers of the race.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones