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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2006

Goding, Nelson finish Kaiwi Channel swim

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Advertiser Staff

Bill Goding joined an elite group Monday, and got a surprise at the finish.

Goding and Forrest Nelson completed the Kaiwi Channel swim, swimming from Moloka'i to O'ahu, in 15 hours, 55 minutes.

Goding, 53, became the oldest to complete the swim (Keo Nakama, who was the first to swim the channel in 1961 at age 41, had been the oldest).

At the finish at Sandy Beach, Goding was greeted with lei and by Ian Emberson and Robin Isayama, two others who have completed the channel swim.

"I didn't think they were going to be there, so that was just really, really nice," Goding said.

The City and County of Ho-nolulu lifeguard said the start of the swim was the most challenging for him, as the two started the swim at 1 a.m.

"Once you get past the heebie-jeebies in the beginning, it kind of goes away," he said.

During the swim, Goding said the two didn't encounter a single fish, just a few birds.

Nelson became just the second to swim the channel in both directions. He swam from O'ahu to Moloka'i in March, finishing in 16:36.

Nelson, a veteran distance swimmer who has also completed the English Channel and the Catalina Channel, said Monday's swim was tough.

"It's the most challenging swim I've had," he said.

The conditions made it more of a challenge.

"The wind and the swells were far more difficult this time," compared to March, he said


Swimmers who have successfully crossed the Kaiwi Channel (all started from Moloka'i unless noted):

  • Keo Nakama, 1961

  • Harry Huffaker, 1967


  • Harry Huffaker, 1972

  • Jonathan Ezer, 1974

  • Mike Miller, Ian Emberson (swam together), 1979

  • Robin Isayama, 1994


  • Forrest Nelson, 2006

  • Bill Goding, Nelson (swam together), 2006

    Isayama is the only female to complete the swim.

    Huffaker and Nelson are the only swimmers to successfully cross the channel going in both directions.

    x-O'ahu to Moloka'i

    Source: Advertiser Staff


    The rules of open water channel swimming are:

  • A swimmer must go from dry land to dry land without a wet suit, floatation devices, or propulsion devices, such as fins.

  • A swimmer cannot grab on to a paddleboard or boat, or climb aboard a vessel to rest. When at rest, a swimmer must tread water.

    Source: Channel swimming advisory board of the Hawai'i Swimming Hall of Fame