Oceans of fun for hundreds at Byron Bay swim
A TOTAL of 937 swimmers took to the water for the annual Ocean Swim for charity organised by Byron Bay Winter Whales Swimming Club.
In the main swim, competitors left from Wategos Beach and swam across the bay to the surf club, a distance of 2km.
The mini swim, about 800 metres parallel with the main beach, attracted 130 entrants.
The event is in its 29th year and has raised $720,000 for charity in that time.
This year the club hopes to raise up to $50,000, according to Winter Whales secretary- treasurer Phil Boyd.
"It was great to see the swim run so smoothly this year after last year's cancellation due to local severe storms and all the talk about sharks recently," Boyd said.
The event yesterday started at 10am in slightly choppy conditions.
Numbers were slightly down on other years, probably due to the cancellation last year.
The Winter Whales have about 30 members and hold winter swims every week during the colder months.
Money is raised for charity throughout the year including from regular pub raffles at the Suffolk Park Hotel.
Jeremy Bennett from major swim sponsor Byron Bay Property Sales swam the race himself under leaden skies.
"It was a great family day and it's good to have the race back on track," he said.
"We are especially grateful to all the volunteer organisations that help run the day and the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club who do such a great job of looking after water safety."