They don’t call it the Waikiki Roughwater Swim for nothing. Today, lifeguards were kept busy as they rescued around 300 swimmers participating in the annual event from Kaimana Beach to the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort, a 2.4-mile race.
The event was canceled last year due to the water being too rough, but this year, event organizers said it was a go. Although wave heights were mostly tolerable at 1-3 feet, it was the strong currents that proved to be too much for hundreds of swimmers. The event which started at 8:30 this morning, was cancelled soon after it started.
One person was taken to a nearby hospital for injuries she sustained from the reef, and a 15-year-old girl was treated on the beach for shortness of breath, along with a woman who had muscle cramps.
Due to two hurricanes that passed the Hawaiian Islands – Madeline and Lester – within the past few days, the Weather Service said surf is rising and a south swell began arriving this morning.
This isn’t the first time swimmers ran into trouble during a Roughwater Swim. In 2003, over 360 swimmers were pulled from the ocean after a similar scenario when just days prior, Hurricane Jimena had passed by the Aloha State.