Ocean Swim

Waimarama Beach to Island to Beach Ocean Swim

Our surf sports team is fundraising to attend the upcoming Nationals to be held in Christchurch in March 2023 and we bring this ocean swim to our wonderful beach and iconic Te Motu-o-Kura / Bare Island to assist with our fundraising efforts.

We would like to invite you to swim this 5.7km iconic swim from the beach to the island and back.

Please get your entries in early to help us with our planning of this swim.

Date: 21 January 2023

Back-up date: 22 January 2023


Registration confirmation between 6.45am to 7.30am

Event Safety Briefing at 7.45am

Short walk to Swim Entry 8.00am

Swim Start at 8.15am.

(Note it takes 40 – 45 minutes from Napier or Hastings to Waimarama, so please leave early to avoid a late on the day registrations)

Location:  Waimarama Surf Lifesaving Club, 9 Moori Road, Waimarama.

Parking: On grass reserve at back of surf club off Moori Road, Waimarama.

Services:  There are public toilets beside the Surf Club.

Distance: 5.7km (in a straight line).  The leg out from the Southern Beach to the Island is less than the return leg back to the Surf Club.  The course will be marked by buoys.

Cut off time:  All swimmers must have completed their swim within 3 hours.  A turn around cut off time of 1 hour 30 minutes will apply.   There will be no exceptions to this time limit.

Entry Cap:  The event will be capped at 50 swimmers, so please do not hesitate to enter so you do not miss out.

Alternate Back Up Swim:  If swell and wind conditions on either days do not allow a safe swim to the Island an alternate shoreline swim of 4-5km will be offered as an alternative swim provided weather and swell conditions permit.  To put this in context, the alternate swim with slightly bigger swell and stronger say offshore wind conditions may still allow a swim to be held close to shore.   This course will be a there and back swim and will be marked by buoys.

Fundraising Entry Fee: $120

Entry Close Date:  Midnight Sunday 15th January 2023.  There will be no entries accepted on the day.

Water Support:  On water support will be provided by surf lifeguards on Paddle Boards and IRB’s.  A larger vessel will also be on the water to assist where required.

Event Cancellation:  The island swim will be held in conditions of a less than 1 metre swell and wind of less than 15km.  A decision will be made either three days out or night before to delay the swim from the 21st of January to the 22nd January.  If neither day looks safe to hold the swim to the Island the alternate backup shoreline swim will be considered as next option.  In the event this alternate backup swim is considered unsafe for swimmers and water support personnel, the event will be cancelled.   This is at the sole discretion of the Event Safety Manager.

Should conditions change during the event where swimmers and water support personnel safety is in doubt, then the Event Safety Manager has the sole discretion to cancel the swim and all swimmers will be picked up from the water starting with the slower swimmers to the fastest swimmers.  Where swimmers have less than a quarter of the swim to go the Event Manager (at their sole discretion and is safe to do so) may allow swimmers to complete the final quarter of the swim provided they are well within the time limit.

Cancellation Refund

As you will appreciate there is a lot of behind the scenes organisation that goes into holding these events and we are offering this swim to fundraise for our surf sports team, so we would like to think you would be happy with your ‘donation’ to a worthy cause should the event be cancelled. No refund will be made after the race has started.

If you consider you would like your entry fee money back in the event of cancellation, then a maximum 50% refund of the entry fee will be offered to swimmers who notify by the 27th of January to the club by email.

Island Swim Course Map

Alternative Shoreline Swim Course Map

Click on the links below to register and pay for this event.

Compulsory acknowledgement of Health and Safety Notice and Conditions of Entry – please read this notice for important event information

Waimarama Surf Life Saving Club welcomes you to our ocean swim event.

While we all want you to complete the swim it is important that we cover off some of the key risks with this event so you are fully informed that while we will take certain precautions to assist with your safety during your swim there are risks that cannot be mitigated.  Please carefully read below and acknowledge you have read and understood these risks.

It is important to note that, while every effort will be made to ensure a safe event, organisers and support crews are unable to guarantee swimmer safety.   

A) The event will require you to enter and exit through open surf and breaking waves. This creates additional challenges to what you may well be used to in swimming in flat water or pool conditions.  Waves can cause disorientation and tiredness as you enter and exit through the waves, and or could throw you around in the water causing injury.  At the end you may suffer from ‘swimmer’s legs’ at the end of the swim which may make it difficult for you to exit the water in the surf environment.

The water temperature at Waimarama is traditionally a couple of degrees cooler than other inner water coastlines.  With the length of the time in the water participants are encouraged to wear a wetsuit.

With the length and time of the swim you should ensure you are well hydrated before the event and after the event and sunblock should also be considered.

Swimmers are responsible for their own physical condition and fitness and should have completed adequate training for this event and be confident in this open water swim environment.  You should obtain a medical check if required before completing this swim.

B) There will be fishing boats passing through the swim area, while the swim area will be marked with support crews and buoys, there is a risk you may not be seen by a fishing boat. It is compulsory for you to wear a bright coloured swim cap (not white, grey or blue) and it is encouraged that you wear a swimmer’s float (Note please ensure the float belt is tied to your waist belt as you head out through the surf as the standard clips will fail in the surf zone) to provide greater visibility to any fishing boat and to support crews.

You will not be permitted to enter the swim without a suitable coloured swim cap.

C) Underwater wildlife, yes nature plays its part in any ocean swim and you know the risks here. Bare Island has a colony of seals on the seaward side of the island, and it is common for seals to be in the water around the island and from time to time near the beach.  Dolphin’s, Orca’s and occasionally the odd shark has been seen in the water.  If you are asked to get out of the water without any pre-warning, please do so immediately.  Jellyfish will be another factor at this time of year and for this reason you may prefer to wear a wetsuit.

D) There will be a time limit on the completion of the event and when asked to leave the water you agree to comply with this request. Under no circumstances are you to continue swimming once instructed to stop swimming regardless of how far into the event you are.  Similarly, if the water support crew determines that you are unwell, it is their sole discretion to remove you from the race.

E) We will have an open water swell condition cap of 1 metre as determined by the Waimarama surf forecast and a wind cap of 15km. If these swell and wind caps are forecast to be breached, we will advise three days out that the event will be postponed to the following day, or alternative swim offer, or outright cancellation.  The Event Safety Manager has the sole discretion to cancel the event if conditions become unsafe during the event.  The reason for these caps is the surf conditions on entry and exit can become treacherous when over 1 metre and will be difficult for us to get the support crews and larger vessel off the beach.  Similarly wind over 15km out in the open water reduces the visibility of swimmers as the chop increases and will become very unpleasant for our accompanying Board Paddlers and IRB crews being exposed to these conditions for the length of the swim event.

F) Despite entry, it is compulsory for all swimmers to register on the day at the registration desk and attend the event safety briefing prior to the swim start. Please ensure you arrive well in time to undertake these tasks.

G) At the end of the swim (or even if you do not complete the swim) please ensure that you come to the swim completion tent in front of the surf lifesaving tower to tick off your name that you have exited the water. This is imperative to avoid unnecessary wider search for any swimmer that has not exited the water, so please ensure this is done. 

This is a long distance swim in open water (meaning in the middle of the ocean in deep water) and through surf at the start and end of the event.  You need to be an experienced and confident swimmer.  Please do not enter this event if you have never done one of the other large ocean swim series events before.   To be clear this swim is not for beginners or for your very first ‘longer’ distance swim.