"OMG, we had fun. Fantastic event, well organised, wonderful beach, beautiful blue water, great for swimming. A brilliant event, best Open Water event in the Caribbean."
Its difficult to adequately describe in words the heart warming camaraderie when open water swimmers get together. Its witnessed annually at the Barbados Open Water Festival when a diverse mix of swimmers of all ages and abilities arrive from all over the world and five days of “fun and fabulous” begins! As Rachel (who classed her group as “completors” not “competers”!) from the UK wrote, “We met some great people from the UK in our most exotic swim destination yet who we will be meeting up to swim in their local river and and they will join us for a sea swimming initiation, that’s what its all about”. Ocean Junction.com recently described the event as "one of the most vibrant open water events to take place in the Western Hemisphere - a must-attend for open water enthusiasts!"
As usual the swimmers came from everywhere! Swimmers were welcomed from as far away as Singapore and South Africa. Many visited from all over the United Kingdom and Europe, United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil and neighbouring Caribbean islands.
Hundreds took part in the “social swims and post-swim dinners” as well as the four races (1.5K, 3.3K, 5K and 10K races) and the Just for Fun 1.5K Swim during the five-day event in November 2018. The Fun Swim once again raised funds for Variety: The Children’s Charity.
The 7th annual Festival also featured the historic start of the successful 96K swim around Barbados by Cameron Bellamy of South Africa (pictured). It was his second attempt in 8 weeks and to the delight of scores who saw the start and the thousands who tracked his progress online he completed the swim an incredible 40 hours and 43 minutes later. Its been declared the fourth longest solo unassisted sea swim ever. Cameron’s new plan: swimming from Cuba to Florida during the summer of this year! He also plans to return to the Barbados Open Water Festival in 2019.
The Festival "upped its game" in 2018 with the introduction of professional timing by Sportstats, newly designed finisher medals, premium silicon Vorgee caps for each of the four races, numerous random prizes and live steel pan music.
There were several standout performances at the 2018 event. Nikoli Blackman of Trinidad (pictured centre on podium) roared to victory in both the 1.5K and 5K races. Ceri Edwards, the 2017 UK Masters champ over 1.5K had an impressive win in the ladies field and second overall in the 1.5K and came back the following day to win the Ladies 10K. Former Canadian competitive swimmer and 2011 World Championship Bronze medallist Martha McCabe cruised home in the 3.3K while another Canadian, 14 year old Ethan Campbell topped the Men’s field in that race. Teenager Carolyn Pennington of New York claimed the Ladies 5K. For the first time, a Barbadian swimmer, Nkosi Dunwoody, was victorious in the 10K.
Dennis Vanderheiden and "Athletes in Tandem" deserves a special mention for attending the Festival for the second time and allowing two differently abled Barbadian athletes the opportunity to take part in the swim races.
Special awards recognized achievements by local swimmers: Rick Peters won the Jonathan Morgan Memorial Trophy and Nkosi Dunwoody copped the Chris & Peter Gibbs Trophy.
The 2019 event is scheduled for Nov 6-10.
The event would not be possible without the support of sponsors such as title sponsor: ANSA Rentals and other sponsors: Vorgee, Chefette Restaurants, Tourism Development Corporation, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Powerade, Dasani, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and CGM Gallagher.
See all results for the Barbados Open Water Festival HERE
#BarbadosOpenWaterFestival #ANSARentals #openwaterswimming
Cameron Bellamy of South Africa has become the first person in history to complete the highly complex swim around the island of Barbados. His unprecedented swim began on Sunday November 11 at about 11:20 am. Hundreds of swimmers from around the world were already at the Carlisle Bay start as they were taking part in the annual Barbados Open Water Festival. There was an atmosphere of great excitement on the beach as they gathered with many other interested onlookers to cheer him on. Unbelievably, he swam for almost 41 hours and completed the 96K swim at 4:06 am on Tuesday November 13. According to the Marathon Swimming Federation there are only three documented non-stop, unassisted sea swims in history that have been longer than Cameron Bellamy's incredible swim around Barbados!
The seemingly impossible feat of swimming all the way around the island of Barbados by the South African will be remembered forever by all who witnessed the accomplishment. His is a highly unique and unbelievable story dating back to his first "long swim" across the English Channel in 2012. Swimming this channel, after only one year of swimming, should perhaps have been an indicator of the great moments that would follow in his open water swimming life. In June 2018 Bellamy completed the challenging Oceans Seven swims and joined an elite group of only 11 swimmers to have completed the seven toughest channels. Even before completing the Oceans Seven he already had his sights set on swimming around Barbados and had begun training in earnest.
On September 7, 2018, Bellamy set out on his first attempt to swim around Barbados. He spent 27 hours in the water and swam 66K, from Pebbles Beach on the south west coast to Animal Flower Cave on the north coast via the Atlantic facing East coast. After 24 hours in the water, a shift in the winds and adverse currents off River Bay caused conditions that were exceedingly difficult. He dug deep for another three hours and made it past River Bay to the Cave where he aborted the swim, realising that he still had the "distance of the English Channel" to complete the circumnavigation. Exhausted and with sore shoulders and suffering with a highly painful "salt mouth" he returned to his hotel, admitting that the swim - around the jagged coastline, battling tough conditions on the south east and north coasts including back wash from the cliffs - was more difficult than he expected.
He had put up a great fight and surpassed previous attempts by about 40K. Local swimmers and the community in general were in awe of his attempt even though he hadn't reached the finish line he had set for himself. However, his tenacious nature was apparent when about 24 hours after the first attempt he announced he would try again. "I am the fittest I have ever been and now I know what I have to do to make it all the way around". He travelled to Australia, intensified his training and applied a more specific and scientific approach to his training regimen in the waters off the Gold Coast. He swam up to nine hours a day and focused on maintaining a target heart rate among other goals.
Just over 8 weeks after his first attempt Bellamy returned to the island in early November to await a "weather window": a period of at least two days when the wind and sea conditions would be favourable. Many in the local community were doubtful that November would provide the needed conditions given that the wind speeds are generally higher in this month and sea conditions unpredictable with a much greater probability of "north swells" causing difficult conditions. Swimmers, boaters and surfers all expressed concern that it would be nearly impossible to "get around North point" and the "south-east coast will be too choppy" and the "sea conditions bad". But Cameron Bellamy pressed on with his plan and with the assistance of various online wind models identified Nov 11-13 as the window to swim.
The support crew consisting of about 30 core volunteers acting as kayakers, feeders, observers and boat captains, along with paramedics were assembled. An entourage of eight boats was utilised at different times over "four legs" of the swim. The conditions were not as favourable as the September 2018 attempt and even as he started the swim, on Sunday November 11, a squall passed over the south of the island bringing heavy rainfall, wind and choppy seas.
Well, needless to say, Cameron Bellamy, a man who exemplifies the very definition of perseverance, fought through wind and bumpy water on the south, literally ploughed through huge waves in the Kittridge Point/Ragged Point areas of the south-east and continued up the Atlantic facing East coast. When he reached his "nemesis" from the first attempt - the North Coast - conditions were extremely challenging - large swells caused him to detour out to sea to avoid being washed up on the rocky cliffs of the North. Totally focused and maintaining a similar stroke rate throughout he defeated the unforgiving North coast and entered calmer waters on the north west coast of the island. Flagging a bit at this point he had to draw on his steely resolve and the positive energy of his highly supportive crew to keep moving along the west coast. In forty plus hours this was the only point where he said, "I had a few negative thoughts". Throughout the duration of the swim, he never faltered, taking the time to give a thumbs up and thank-you to volunteers as shifts changed and new support crew took over (pictured below).
News of his success in rounding the North Point spread like wildfire on the island and across the globe where thousands were following his progress by live tracking. Social media exploded with enormous numbers of shares, likes and comments on the posts updating his progress and excitement grew that this time he would make the finish line. Twelve hours later Bellamy swam past the wall of the Deep Water Harbour in the island's capital city of Bridgetown and swam across Carlisle Bay to his starting point in front of the Copacabana Beach Bar. A large and jubilant crowd, many of whom had tracked him continuously over the two days of his swim, welcomed him as he erupted from the water and walked up the beach. He had done it. He never let up, he maintained his focus all the way and history has been created. Cameron Bellamy swam around Barbados!
This highly talented, totally dedicated, endurance athlete uses his incredible abilities to raise funds for a children's charity - The Ubunye Challenge. Cameron Bellamy's next endurance adventure? Swimming from Cuba to Florida in September 2019. Follow his story here: CLICK
Copyright © 2018 by Barbados Open Water Festival
Swimmers from all over the world will converge on the island of Barbados in early November for the 7th Barbados Open Water Festival in Carlisle Bay. Since inception the Festival has hosted Olympians, World Champions, Masters Swim Champions, World Record Holders, Junior Champions, Pan Am Medallists and scores of recreational swimmers from all over the world. Festival organizers, together with title sponsor, ANSA Rentals, are delighted to announce that their specially invited guest for 2018 will be Cameron Bellamy, the first Oceans Seven Swimmer to attend the Festival. Only eleven people in the world can claim to be part of the elite group of swimmers who have completed swims across seven of the toughest channels in the world.
Cameron Bellamy is practically a household name in Barbados, after his unprecedented attempt to swim 91K around the island in September 2018. He swam for 27 hours, covering an incredible 66K, just about two thirds of the distance. Although he didn’t reach the finish line his swim was an amazing feat given that there are only a handful of people in the world that can swim continuously for more than 24 hours.
The swim created such intrigue globally that the capacity of the tracking software was frequently exceeded during the swim. In addition, thousands watched video clips, shared photos, commented and liked on social media. Its incredible to note that Bellamy didn't travel to Barbados with an entourage - no physios, trainers or nutritionists - just a few enthusiastic family members. His support staff during the attempt was comprised of local volunteers. Since the first attempt (aka #SwimAroundBarbados), the South African has increased the intensity of his already gruelling training, often spending in excess of nine hours swimming daily. He intends to make a second attempt in the near future.
Bellamy will be joined at the Barbados Festival by swimmers from at least 15 other countries. Previous multiple time winner, American Eney Jones, as well as last year’s 3.3K winner Nikoli Blackman of Trinidad will be on the start lines. Nikoli, who recently won the Maracas Bay 3K Open Water in Trinidad, has been attending the Festival since 2013 when he was only eight years old. Well-known open water swimmer, Bill Ireland of California, who has competed in open water swimming events for the past 48 years, logging participation in over 400 events across the world will return again after debuting here in 2017. Rick Peters, the three-time winner of the Jonathan Morgan Memorial Trophy for highest placed Barbadian Masters Swimmer in the 5K and a participant in every Festival since the inaugural event in 2013 will defend his title. Several competitive junior swimmers from US, Canada and Barbados are expected to challenge the many experienced Masters swimmers.
Kristina Evelyn, a Director of the growing Festival, said she was very pleased that ANSA Rentals had partnered with the locally owned yet globally recognized event in 2018. "We commend ANSA Rentals for joining with us and supporting this healthy lifestyle event that is playing a role not only in community building on the island but helping to enhance Barbados’ sports tourism offering. Their support has enabled us to introduce professional timing for the first time.” Sportstats, a leading international timing company, will be on the finish line. The company is contracted to time over one thousand races in 24 countries in 2018.
Also new this year is the finisher "bling" that swimmers will be able to collect at the end of the race and numerous random prizes donated by local companies that will be awarded during the weekend.
The Festival, a significant sports tourism project on the Barbados calendar, has grown every year since 2013. In 2017, 80% of the 625 entries across four races was visiting swimmers and the upcoming event is on track to record even higher entry numbers from visitors. A large percentage of the visitors hail from all across the USA, Canada and the UK but in 2018 for the first time swimmers will be welcomed from from Wales, Switzerland, Argentina, Singapore, South Africa and Nicaragua. Swimmers are also returning from England, Ireland, Brazil, Trinidad, Antigua and Germany. A marked increase has been noted in participation in the highly social guided practice swims (Nov 7-9) and a presentation by Cameron Bellamy on November 7 is sure to attract many local and visiting swimmers.
The Barbados Open Water Festival (Nov 7-11) offers races over four distances: 1.5K, 3.3K, 5K and a 10K. Additionally, for those swimmers who do not wish to race or be timed there is a 1.5K “Just For Fun” Swim in aid of “Variety – The Children’s Charity”. Swimmers can enter online or at the local Aquatic Centre and entry closes on November 6. All races start and end in front of the trendy Copacabana Beach Bar. Spectators are welcome ! #BarbadosOpenWaterFestival
Photo: Kristina Evelyn Photo: Track RS
Courtesy of Daily News of Open Water Swimming
After achieving the Oceans Seven in June 2018, Cameron Bellamy found himself in the midst of another challenge against Mother Nature: a Swim Around Barbados, a 96 km circumnavigation attempt that three people have attempted but none have finished.
Kristina Evelyn of the Barbados Open Water Festival says, "Cameron is generating huge interest among open water swimmers and the community in general here in Barbados."
Bellamy expected the swim to take him 36 hours or more. After over 27 hours and 66 km, he had covered the rougher east and north coasts that face the Atlantic Ocean where strong and unpredictable currents are well-known along that side of Barbados. The locals actually consider that area of the island unswimmable. But Bellamy got through the rough part. The aquatic Renaissance Man said upon calling it a day and night, "After 27 hours and 66 km of swimming, I realized I didn’t have enough left in me for another 35 km, basically the English Channel length. What an amazing swim and adventure though."
Kristina Evelyn said about Bellamy, "He knew it was a highly complex swim, but he wasn't deterred. He put in the gruelling training. His planning was meticulous. He inspired every member of his support team. He swam for 27 hours. As he approached the north, increasing wind and adverse currents made for extremely difficult conditions off River Bay. He continued the fight for a few hours and made it to the Animal Flower Cave on the northern tip of the island. He gave it his all, but called it a day just about 10 pm on Saturday night. An incredible and outstanding effort."
Despite his DNF this time, Bellamy vowed to return, "I will definitely be back to try again." Bellamy will also return to the island
in November for the7th annual Barbados Open Water Festival.
His swim benefitted the Ubunye Challenge, a charity he founded in 2011, that makes contributions to early childhood education in poverty stricken regions of South Africa and Zimbabwe. For more information on Ubunye Challenge, visit here.
Enter the 2018 Barbados Open Water Festival Enter Online
Cameron Bellamy’s attempt at swimming around Barbados is just a few weeks away and the highly anticipated event is causing a huge stir among the passionate swimmers and the wider community on the island. It’s estimated that about 70% of the population in Barbados are not proficient swimmers so the notion of someone swimming 96K around the island is mind-boggling to most of the residents. Many people on the island will clearly remember older relatives warning them in their childhood: “the sea has no back-door” and this folklore possibly contributed to the general apprehension of swimming in the sea that still exists today.
The growing interest is further fuelled by the disbelief that anyone would try to swim along the east and north coasts that face the Atlantic Ocean, due to the strong and unpredictable currents along that side of the island. Countless Barbadians consider these coasts to be “non-swimmable”. Local open water swimmers generally swim along the south or west coasts where there are ideal open water swimming conditions.
The Oceans Seven Swimmer who hails from South Africa is well aware of the mammoth undertaking that lies ahead of him. It could be the longest swim of his life and it’s a feat that has never been accomplished by a solo, unassisted swimmer. In fact it seems the high level of difficulty, including 36+ hours in warm water, the expected ocean currents and the distance, are what has motivated him to undertake this complex challenge. The thirty-six year old Bellamy has been training for the Barbados swim for over a year and recently drew much attention along the island’s coasts with his arduous program of training swims ranging from 8 hours to 16 hours almost daily with a twenty-four hour swim before he departed. He has thoroughly enjoyed his swimming in Barbados commenting that many of his swims are in dark, cold water and likening the warmer clear Barbados waters to that of an aquarium, where he has sighted many turtles, a sting ray, tropical fish and beautiful corals during his swims.
In addition to the endurance challenge of this and previous swims, Bellamy’s adventures serve a greater purpose and this is raising funds for children’s education. Growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, it was evident to Cameron, on a daily basis, that he was privileged. Throughout his childhood, he saw children his own age on the street, not attending school and this memory stayed with him. He attended Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, which is the most underdeveloped area of South Africa and during this time he grew to love the region and its people. After completing a Masters Degree in Queensland, Australia and working in investment banking in Bejing, Cameron set off on his first endurance expedition - a solo cycling trip over four months and a distance of 6,500 km through Western China, Central Asia and India. The innumerable hours on the bike led him on a journey of self-reflection and laid the foundation for the Ubunye Challenge, the charity he founded in 2011. The organization has made a significant contribution to early childhood education in poverty stricken regions of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Over the past several months Bellamy has endeared himself to many on the island of Barbados with his modest and friendly personality. Despite his relentless training schedules when visiting he has met with and inspired many young competitive and recreational swimmers, swam with numerous local masters swimmers and visited with representatives of children’s charities (Variety Club and Bright Water Kids) which he intends to support. Behind the unassuming façade is a guy with two Guinness World Records, who can converse in Mandarin, has rowed the Indian Ocean, founded a highly successful charity before age thirty, swam the Oceans Seven and who is the CEO of a cyber security firm in San Francisco.
When he returns to Barbados in late August to attempt his swim around Barbados its expected that a plethora of Barbadians, swimmers and non-swimmers, will give him a rousing send-off, view his progress online and from numerous vantage points around the island while earnestly hoping for an epic outcome. Whether he makes it or not he has already made a lasting impression on the community and given open water swimming on the island a massive boost. He has already made plans to return to the island in November to swim in the Barbados Open Water Festival, much to the delight of Festival regulars! Follow #SwimAroundBarbados for updates and live tracking of the swim attempt. Learn more about the charities that will benefit: SwimAroundBarbados for Charity.
The Barbados Open Water Festival will partner with the internationally known aquatic brand Vorgee for its upcoming event in November 2018. BOWF organisers are delighted with the new deal which includes Vorgee providing their premium reinforced seam silicon caps as the official cap for each of the four races at the Festival. Additionally, they will donate multiple random prizes for the swimmers. Vorgee, an Australian owned and managed company, was established in 2005 and is an all-encompassing aquatics company, offering products for those getting into a pool for the first time through to the competitive swimmer. The company takes its social responsibility seriously and has developed custom product ranges to promote and support important causes such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the national Kids Alive Do the Five Water Safety Program.
The 7th Barbados Open Water Festival will take place on November 7-11, 2018. The five day schedule offers three days with informal practice swims (2K) at three open water locations and two days of races (Nov 10-11) in Carlisle Bay. 1.5K, 3.3K, 5K and 10K plus a Just for Fun 1.5K for charity. Swimmers can swim all five days or choose just one day. Learn more or enter online here: BOWF Website
Swimmers gathering ahead of a 2017 race in Carlisle Bay, Barbados.
Congratulations to Diego Lopez for his July 7 swim across the English Channel. According to the Channel Swimming Association he completed the crossing in 11 hours and four minutes. Diego competed with us at the Barbados Open Water Festival in 2017 and was the second placed male in the 10K in Carlisle Bay.
The thirty six year old, a native of the Canary Islands, has an impressive resume of open water swims. During 2018 he aims to becoming the first person ever to complete a major, iconic, challenging race in each of the seven continents including Rottnest Channel (OZ), Robben Island (ZA), Lake Titicaca (BV), English Channel (UK), Catalina Channel (US), Clean Half (HK) and Ice KM in Antarctica. Follow Diego's progress here: global swimmer.com.
In August 2017 Diego completed the circumnavigation of Manhattan (48k) in the 11th fastest time ever and the fastest by a Spaniard. He has already completed open water swim races in 15 countries claiming podium positions in all.
Diego swims with a purpose: keeping the waters clean of plastic waste. He raises money for Ocean Recovery Alliance, a USA / Hong Kong non-profit with extensive experience in fighting plastic waste in oceans, rivers and lakes.
Read more about Diego Lopez and his Continents Seven swims here: SwimSwam
The 2018 Barbados Open Water Festival is scheduled for Nov 7-11. Visit our web site for more info.
South African Cameron Bellamy has completed the Oceans Seven! The final chapter was closed when Bellamy made it across the Tsuagru Strait of Japan in 11 hours and 7 minutes and 28 seconds on June 21, 2018. Next up for this world-class endurance athlete who already has enviable accomplishments in cycling and ocean rowing under his belt? A 90K swim around the island of Barbados. A feat that, to date, has never been accomplished.
Bellamy’s success of swimming the Tsugaru Strait on his second attempt means he has become only the 11th person and the first African to complete this challenge of seven open water channel swims around the world. The Tsugaru Strait is a channel between Honshu, the main island of Japan, and Hokkaido in northern Japan connecting the Sea of Japan with the Indian Ocean. According to Tsugaruchannelswimming.com winds, turbulence and waves can be very high in this area along with marine life and a variety of sharks including Great Whites. Bellamy’s first attempt at Tsugaru was October 2017, but this was foiled by strong currents and very cold water. This time, earlier in the year, water temperatures were a bit warmer (14-17 degrees Celsius).
Cameron Bellamy now joins a small and elite group of only ten others who have conquered Oceans Seven. They are: Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden), Michelle Macy (United States), Darren Miller (United States), Adam Walker (United Kingdom), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand), Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), Ion Lazarenco-Tiron (Republic of Moldova), Rohan More (India) Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic).
Steven Munatones, a coach and marathon swimming guru, devised the Ocean's Seven for marathon swimmers back in 2008. Munatones chose them for their geographic and climatic diversity, extreme hardships and the intricate planning needed to succeed. He considers it Open water swimming’s version of the Seven Summits. The Oceans Seven include (1) the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, (2) the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, (3) the Moloka’i Channel between O’ahu and Moloka’i Islands in Hawaii, (4) the English Channel between England and France, (5) the Catalina Channel in Southern California, (6) the Tsugaru Channel between the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido in Japan, and (7) the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa.
With the Oceans Seven adventure over, Bellamy will turn his attention to the longest swim of his life, around the island of Barbados (#SwimAroundBarbados). His early estimate is for a 36 to 40 hour timeline to complete the swim. While the south-west and west coasts of Barbados offer ideal swimming conditions the south east, east and north coasts face the Atlantic and the rugged coastline is often pummelled by waves and strong unpredictable undercurrents are known to exist. The swim is planned for August 2018.
Cameron Bellamy, goes to the extreme to support early childhood education efforts in the most underdeveloped rural areas of South Africa and Zimbabwe. He is the founder of the charity known as the Ubunye Challenge. Read more about his charity and the incredible work already completed at ubunyechallenge.com.
Cameron Bellamy's first six Ocean 7 crossings:
The Cook Strait
Description: A swim between the South and North Islands of New Zealand, known for its cold water and volatile weather. 15% of attempts encounter sharks. Date: 11 March 2018. Distance: 32km Duration:12 hours 43 minutes
The Molokai Channel
Description: A swim between the islands of Molokai and Oahu in Hawaii. Known for its big seas, long distance, and myriad species of poisonous jelly fish. Date: 15 February 2017. Distance: 46 km Duration:17 hours 6 minutes
The North Channel
Description: A swim between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Known for being the hardest of the Oceans 7 swims.
It is frigidly cold, with temperatures of 10 –12 degrees C. Most attempts encounter swarms of deadly jellyfish.
Date: 14 July 2016. Distance: 35km Duration: 12 hours 13 minutes
The Catalina Channel
Description: A swim between Catalina Island and Los Angeles, known for its strong currents and marine life.
Date: 7 November 2015. Distance: 35km Duration: 11 hours 52 minutes
The Strait of Gibraltar
Description: An iconic swim between Europe (Tarifa, Spain) and Africa (somewhere on the Moroccan coast)
Date: 8 April 2015 Distance: 20km Duration: 4 hours 1minute
The English Channel
Description: Between England and France. The swim is known for its cold water and variable conditions.
Date: 5 July 2012 Distance: 35km Duration: 16 hours 29 minutes
Congrats to Cameron & his team from the Barbados Open Water Festival! We look forward to welcoming you back to Barbados! #SwimAroundBarbados
Kristina Evelyn - Barbadian & Festival organizer. Enjoys promoting open water swimming in Barbados & meeting open water swimmers from all over the world.