When Koz and I began discussing our channel race idea we had a hard time ourselves figuring how to describe what we were creating. Is it a race or an expedition? If you consider the teamwork needed, the advance preparations, the potential conditions that Ka'iwi is infamous for throwing out, and the remoteness, you would certainly refer to this event as an expedition. However, the fastest team in each category wins, so it's clearly a race. So what is it? The Ka'iwi Channel Swim Race gets its own category and can only be considered an Expedition Race.
The Ka'iwi Channel Swim Race in other ways mimics the style of the infamous Iditarod. In fact, its swimming's answer to the call to challenge. Difficult, Remote, and limited rescue is available putting the ultimate responsibility on each participant. It commands physical and mental strength of the team, confidence under pressure, quick reactions to changing conditions, comfort on large changing seas and long days in the sun. Participants need a paradigm shift from their normal race mentality to the mentality of expedition racing. Having an 'issue' one mile from shore is a completely different game then 14 miles to sea. This must be at the forefront of decision making for all teams.
Here are a few tips when considering joining our event.
1) Be fit and prepared physically. Practice as much as possible in the most difficult open ocean conditions you can safely train in. Even the best and most heavily trained athletes consider Ka'iwi very difficult while many consider the crossing the most challenging channel they have ever crossed.
2) Bring your emergency items. Pack a medical kit and know how to use it, know first aid and CPR, create an emergency action plan for all the possible 'what ifs' that can happen. Consider all you action steps to get out of that situation.
3) Hire a proper escort boat and experienced captain familiar with Hawaiian Waters. There are many qualified Captains in the islands- take time to contact a few different captains before you choose.
4) Know your limits. There are better places in the world to get in over your head than Kaiwi. Remember that your are dependent on your other team members to assist in any and all emergencies, so also be aware that if you are unprepared in any way, you are putting your team members, escort boats and others in a high risk position, potentially risking their life. . DO NOT BE THE WEAK LINK IN THE CHAIN.
Circling back, The Iditarod race states the following claim:
“The Last Great Race on Earth®”
You can’t compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska. http://iditarod.com/about/
Lets quickly substitute a few terms here…
The Kaiwi Channel Swim Race is rightfully considered one of the most insane swim events on the Planet. You cannot compare it to any other competitive event in the world. A race of over 28 miles of the roughest, most beautiful water that mother nature has to offer. She throws giant swells, rapidly changing conditions, deep ocean, desolate waters and miles and miles of wind swell at the swimmers and their escorts. Add that to blazing Hawaiian Sun, extreme remoteness of the course, the hazards of long brutal hours on the escort boat in treacherous ocean swells and you have the Ka'iwi Channel Swim Race. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in HAWAII.
Are you ready?
Steve Haumschild- Co-founder & Director
'You can never cross the Ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore'- Christoper Columbus