The inaugural Four Elements Ocean Challenge took place in perfect conditions along Durban's iconic beachfront on Saturday, May 3, and saw 16 tough competitors conquer the 7 kilometres swim from Blue Lagoon to the harbour's northern wall.
Julian Taylor, chairman of the Durban Surf Lifesaving Club - and former Midmar Mile winner - took first place on the day, although the event was not focused on who finished where, but about creating awareness for next month's World Oceans Day.
"Swimmers said they felt connected to the ocean, which was the objective of the event," said race organiser and founder of the Four Elements Conservation organisation, Olivia Taylor.
"We wanted to raise as much awareness as possible about World Oceans Day which takes places on June 8."
Sixteen swimmers took part in the event in total, each of whom were supported by a safety paddler in case of an emergency.
"The swimmers were treated to 15 metre visibility, warm water, pods of dolphins, and shoals of fish. Carina Bruwer, one of the competitors and seasoned open water swimmer, described the Four Elements Ocean Challenge as 'the most beautiful long distance swim ever'," said Taylor.
Other noteworthy participants in the race included professional swimmer and coach Glen Gore, SA junior swimming champion, Ayanda Maphumulo, and Triple Crown open water swimmer, Roger Finch.
"Overall, the inaugural Challenge was a wonderful success, with the passionate swimmers very excited about the prospect of this becoming an annual event, while Durban beachfront was regarded by the out-of-town swimmers as world-class," Taylor revealed.
The day's events were all captured on camera, and will be turned into a short film that will be released as part of World Oceans Day celebrations.
"Our objective is to support, communicate and promote environmental activities, including the protection and preservation of endangered, threatened or suffering creatures," Taylor added.
Visit the conservation organisation's website on
for more information.