The Waikīkī Roughwater Swim is one of the most difficult swim races in Hawai‘i. So hard that it was the original swim leg for the Ironman. So hard that in 2003 people clung to a buoy to keep from being dragged out to sea and a helicopter had to rescue them. So hard that in 2016, 300 people were pulled from the water because they were going backward.
“Sometimes it looks like a lake, some days it’s really crazy,” says race director Kaia Hedlund of the waters off Waikīkī.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, the race is expected to attract more than a thousand swimmers, including 83-year-old Lori Auhll. Read her story and more on the event here.