For the past 25 years an ocean swim has been held on the first Sunday in May from Wategos Beach to Main Beach, Byron Bay. The Byron Bay Property Sales Ocean Swim Classic is approximately 2.5 kilometres and is open to all swimmers over 12 years. It now attracts over 2,000 swimmers and over 5,000 spectators.
Since 2008 a mini swim has also been held as a fun event to introduce swimmers to the joys of ocean swimming. The 800 metre course from Clarkes Beach to Main Beach is open to all swimmers over the age of nine.
The swims are run by the Byron Bay Winter Whales to solely raise funds for charity. They are part of The Great Australian Swim Series, and will be the first of five in the series.
The Ocean Swim Classic attracts a broad range of swimmers from throughout Australia. The event has been won by past Olympians including Grant Hackett, Ky Hurst and Melissa Gorman but many, including veterans, gain a huge sense of achievement from completing the course.
Increasingly swimmers come from further afield to participate in the swim. Many from southeast Queensland (Gold Coast and Brisbane) are joined by swimmers from Sydney and Melbourne. Interstate swimming clubs frequently use the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic as an end-of-season opportunity to visit the iconic town.
Online entries are open until midnight Friday. For more information about the swim, visit www.byronbayoceanswimclassic.com.au.