Starting out with a very small number of ocean swimmers swimming for charity, the Winter Whales Ocean Swim has now over 1200 participants with numbers continuing to rise every year.
The Ocean Swim Classic is 2.2 km swim from Wategoes Beach to Main Beach, Byron Bay.
The swimmers swim around the headland, past The Pass, and up to Main Beach.
The Winter Whales also invites high-profile pool swimmers to compete.
In the past, swimmers of the caliber of Grant Hackett, Kye Hurst and Melissa Gorman have swum in Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic.
The Ocean Swim Classic holds two other races on the day: the ‘Dash for Cash’ and the inaugural Mini Classic.
The ‘Dash for Cash’ is an amateur, fun event designed for entertainment and a chance to win some money. Participants sprint to a buoy and back for cash prizemoney
The introduction of the new event, the Mini Classic, is designed for those swimmers who are competent enough to swim approximately 800m from Clarks Beach to Main Beach. It is to encourage participants to put a toe in the water (so to speak) and draw in more swimmers who may not be as experienced or as confident as 2.2km swimmers.
As a charity event, all proceeds go to local swimming organisations, designated charities associated with water, water sports and water activities.
Held on the first Sunday in May, the Ocean Swim Classic is on May 4, 2008, this year, with a start time for Ocean Swim Classic at 10am.
The race has staggered starts with the elite swimmers going last.
The Mini Classic starts at 9am and the ‘Dash for Cash’ is at the completion of both swims (before presentations).
the fastest swimmer to do the Ocean Swim Classic is Grant Hackett, at 15 years old. Aided by swell and a current he did it in around 19 minutes.
The two oldest participants are 86 years old and have registered to swim this year.
The first swim attracted less than 100 swimmers and last year the Ocean Swim Classic attracted over 1200 swimmers.
The swim has three generations swimming in the race, a grandfather, son and grandson. It will be the grandfather’s 10th race.