Places To Swim Way, Way, Way Offshore

Places To Swim Way, Way, Way Offshore

Courtesy of SurflineTV from Cortes Bank.

The Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association (SBCSA) governs open water swims and channel attempts in the California Channel Islands, including the relay swims from San Clemente Island.

SBCSA has observed and ratified two 6-person relays and Tina Neill‘s solo swim from San Clemente Island to the California mainland, a very difficult swim of 54.4 miles (87.5 km).

But beyond San Clemente Island, there is yet another Channel Island. In previous eons, the Cortes Bank was an island, but now it is only a shallow seamount or a barely submerged island – 96 miles southwest of Los Angeles, 111 miles west of San Diego, and 47 miles (82 km) southwest of San Clemente Island.

It is considered the outermost feature in California’s Channel Islands chain and is a famous big wave surfing spot.

The video by Surfline TV provides a great explanation of how currents and waves are created by Cortes Bank due to its shallow peaks that rises to 3-6 feet (1–2 meters) from the ocean surface depending on the tides.

These shallow spots located so far from the shore create giant waves and present a fascinating ecosystem where big-wave surfers and scuba divers can enjoy massive waves, clear water, vast kelp forests and abundant sea life.

Seamounts are in fact one of the world’s most common oceanic ecosystems, nearly 10,000 of which have been mapped around the globe. As open water swimmers continue to push the envelope of where to swim, our prediction is that there will be some adventurous swimmers interested in doing ‘virtual’ circumnavigation swims around seamounts and other way, way, way offshore spots around the world.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association