In what has been described as the most difficult Bell Buoy Challenge in the history of the event, 3 local swimmers took on the big swells, 15 degree water and strong currents over the Easter weekend.
JC Van Wyk ended up finishing second in the 8 K swim, with Port Elizabeth swimmer PJ Duffey becoming the first Eastern Cape swimmer to ever win the Bell Buoy Challenge.
PJ also won the Shell Festival Sea Swim in September last year, overcoming big swell and a strong head wind to claim victory.
JC was accompanied by legendary South African surfer Mark Paarman, who was JC’s support paddler.
“The swell was big enough to be breaking over the Bell Buoy reef and there was also some big surface chop out at sea from the onshore winds,” said Paarman. “It wasn’t an easy swim at all”.
Kendal Wright (16 yrs old) was the youngest swimmer to complete the Bell Buoy swim, which saw 49 starters and only 39 finishers, indicating just how tough the swim was.
Brenton Williams completed his second successive Bell Buoy Challenge, just using the butterfly stroke in the arduous conditions.
All three swimmers swam according to Channel rules, which meant they were only allowed to wear a speedo type costume, goggles and a swim cap.
It has been a big year for the extreme swimmers, with all three of them completing Robben Island crossing during the season.
Van Wyk swam a Robben Island to Blouberg crossing in November, with Williams setting a world record by completing a 3 Anchor Bay to Robben Island swim in Decemberwhen he became the first swimmer to ever complete the swim doing butterfly.
Kendal became one of the youngest swimmers to ever swim Robben Island when he completed a Blouberg crossing in February.
Wright is aiming at completing a 3 Anchor Bay crossing in the next few months, while Williams will be attempting to become the first person ever to swim butterfly from Llundudno to Camps Bay, a distance of 9 Km in frigid water, later in April.
Van Wyk won the silver medal in the 3 K swim at the SA Masters Open Water Swim Champs held recently at Marina Martinique to round off a fine season by the open water swimmers.
There will be regular cold water swims in Marina Martinique over the winter months and a cold water swim event is being planned for the 6 July.