Recommendations for swimming in Hawai'i?

I have a ton of hotel/airline points to be used and am thinking of popping over to Hawai'i for the week of Christmas. I've never been so have no idea about the place at all. Keen to find somewhere where I can do some ocean swimming without risk of being run over by jetskis etcetera. Not averse to hiring a kayaker or paddle boarder to do an relaxing escorted swim (<6miles) if anyone has particular recommendations on that front.
http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
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  • I will be in Kona over the holdiays....good swimming from the pier south toward the Royal Kona hotel and beyond if you wish...same gereral route of the swim portion of the iron man...there is a local group that meets their in the morning and Peaman's group has a swim on Christmas or New Years...always fun...
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • My possibly ill-informed impression is the south-facing shores will tend to offer better swimming conditions in the winter months (huge surf is typical for north-facing shores in winter). So on Oahu, Waikiki will be a better bet than Waimea Bay. On Kauai, Poipu will be a better bet than Hanalei Bay.
  • which island are you on? I lived in HI for several months and swam in all the islands. Ala Moana, on O'ahu, is best for daily workouts. It's calm and sheltered by a reef, and more like a giant pool. Kailua, on the other side of the island, is beautiful, and tends to be more exciting, chop/swell wise. The North Shore isn't really great for swimming in the winter (better for surfing.)

    in Maui, Big Beach and Little Beach are pretty terrific. As to swimming, Napili has a great beach and you can go back and forth, parallel to the beach.

    In Kawa'i, Douglass has some salt-water pools that are terrific.

    And in the Big Island, there's no beating Kona, triathlon capital of the world. The Ironman buoys are still out there and you can swim the Ironman course. You can also swim on the Hilo side.
  • edited December 2012

    without risk of being run over by jetskis etcetera.

    @ dc_in_sf You can always swim with an Swim Safety Device.
    You'll be visible and you can store your clothes and car keys in the device.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • I second the vote for Kailua on Oahu. The Kailua Masters does an open water swim every Saturday. We vary the location depending on the winds. Distance varies from 1.5-2 miles though we have some members who swim further. Check out our website at kailuamasters.org.
  • Thanks all for the advice!

    I haven't picked an island yet, it is somewhat going to be based on which hotels have rooms available, but leaning towards Maui or the Big Island at the moment (Volcanoes!)

    Speaking of Maui, I'm wondering if anyone has done swims to Kahoolawe or Molokini from Maui (or vice versa)? They look achievable from a distance perspective, assuming a powered boat escort, not sure of the currents though.

    @niek funnily enough I just ordered a SSD a couple of days ago, though I view it more as a gear carrying device for beach swims than a safety device.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • edited December 2012
    dc_in_sf said:

    Speaking of Maui, I'm wondering if anyone has done swims to Kahoolawe or Molokini from Maui (or vice versa)?

    I think you mean Molokai, not Molokini? Molokini is not really an island, more of an outcropping, and is only 2.5 miles offshore from Maui.

    In any case:

    - http://www.hawaiiswim.org/hawaiianChannel/alalakeikiChannel.html
    - http://www.hawaiiswim.org/hawaiianChannel/PailoloChannel.html
  • edited December 2012
    evmo said:


    I think you mean Molokai, not Molokini? Molokini is not really an island, more of an outcropping, and is only 2.5 miles offshore from Maui.

    In any case:

    - http://www.hawaiiswim.org/hawaiianChannel/alalakeikiChannel.html
    - http://www.hawaiiswim.org/hawaiianChannel/PailoloChannel.html

    Thanks @evmo !

    I was actually looking at Molokini, as this was supposed to be a vacation :-)

    Both of those linked channel swims look doable and would be an excellent warmup for Rottnest, so am keen to make one of them happen (assuming ability to organize a boat, support crew etcetera). Pretty much the perfect holiday if I can pull it off :-)

    Edit: Apparently the Pailolo Channel is crazy rough, the Maui/Auau channel looks like a better option.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • There are numerous boats that take people near Molokini to do snorkeling. Their services are comparable.

    If you end up going to the Big Island, I really recommend paying Big Island Divers a visit and booking one of their night snorkeling trips. You'll get to dance with giant stingrays.
  • Also: If you're on O'ahu, I advise connecting with the awesome and gracious Waikiki Swim Club folks. They put together several races and go on long swim practices together on weekends.
  • @heart Thanks again for the advice!

    I've booked Maui initially based on hotel availability, now trying very hard to see if I can get a Maui Channel crossing organized :-)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • dc_in_sf said:

    Apparently the Pailolo Channel is crazy rough, the Maui/Auau channel looks like a better option.

    True, but don't assume you'll get calm conditions in the latter. For the Maui Channel Relays this year we had 25-knot winds. It was great!
  • edited December 2012
    Last time I was there I swam from Kaanapali Alii to Lahaina and back it was about 10K. if you take a bee line. I was never more than 1/2 mile off shore and encountered no jet skis and the only boats I saw were moored near Lahaina. However, I must have created a stir at the Kaanapali Ali which was at the headland I passed on the way down the coast (out to sea) and returning. I had passed the KA over 3 hours before and when I hit the beach further up the coast I saw a big guy (of Hawaiian decent) staring at me from the walking path. I looked away and when I looked back he was heading back to KA. I don't think they see a lot of old fat farts swimming out to sea alone and making it back alive.
  • bobswims said:

    Last time I was there I swam from Kaanapali Alii to Lahaina and back it was about 10K. if you take a bee line. I was never more than 1/2 mile off shore and encountered no jet skis and the only boats I saw were moored near Lahaina. However, I must have created a stir at the Kaanapali Ali which was at the headland I passed on the way down the coast (out to sea) and returning. I had passed the KA over 3 hours before and when I hit the beach further up the coast I saw a big guy (of Hawaiian decent) staring at me from the walking path. I looked away and when I looked back he was heading back to KA. I don't think they see a lot of old fat farts swimming out to sea alone and making it back alive.

    If I can't organize a Maui channel swim I certainly plan to do something like this. I'm curious though what did you do for feeds? Did you tow a bottle, make landfall or just not drink anything for three hours?
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • I packed 4 Gu's in my suit and drank a lot of water in the hour leading up to the swim just to be sure I was completely hydrated (a trick I learned cycling in Colorado years ago). If I had to do it over I'd tuck something in the back of my suit like the Platypus plusBottle Soft Water Bottle. http://www.rei.com#ooid=tjZG5lMjogyoCOcqX65NnPHaXhJdqjHx
    Maybe wear a second old suit and stick it between the 2. It comes in a couple of sizes. In fact I just talked myself into heading down to REI and pick one up, or at least check it out. Santa is bringing me The ISHOF SaferSwimmerâ„¢ Float but that might be more than you need and might be a pain to open up in open water. Santa is bringing me one. I used it once this summer and loved it.
  • Thanks Bob,

    I actually bought the ISHOF thing with an eye to doing longer escortless swims on this trip. Also thought about just dragging a bottle that was either half empty or attached to a float.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • I saw a picture a little while back that showed one of the La Jolla folks (a guy) with 3 water bottles tuck in the back between 2 suits. I wish I could get my hands on it. It look hysterical - but obviously was a great functional answer. I can only imagine what people thought when they saw it.
  • Try putting the bottle in a neoprene can holder (the kind for keeping beer cold). I sometimes drag the Nalgene OTG flip-top bottle (of @loneswimmer fame). It floats vertically when it's full or half-full. I haven't tried the can holder, but I'm pretty sure it will work.

    No matter what you do, though, towing something will slow you down.
  • WaterGirl said:

    No matter what you do, though, towing something will slow you down.

    I'm ok with being slowed down. These swims will be for fun and training :-)

    I bought the smaller one of the swimmer safety floats, it's a tight fit to put much else in there if you have a pair of flip flops, most likely scenario would be to attach a bottle to the outside of the SSF itself. End up dragging a train of gear, but still could be interesting.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • I have towed 3/4 filled 2 liter plastic bottles with little drag effect....I think you could clip your flip flops onto a secondary line and come to think of it you could have a leader with a hook and bait fish attached and troll for a Mahi Mahi to have for lunch...I like that Idea...and will try in Kona....

    Sir Sharko
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
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