Date: September 2, 2013
Location: Hood River Visitor Center, 720 E Port Marina Drive, Hood River, OR 97031
- The swim is for intermediate level or better swimmers.
- All swimmers must be at least 10 years old, in good physical health, and must wear a swim cap due to safety regulations.
- Swimmers under 15 years old must each be accompanied by an adult swimmer.
- Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
- No grease or oil allowed as it may damage the Sternwheeler. Wet or dry suits are permitted.
- You must sign a waiver to participate.
- This is not a race!
At dawn on Labor Day each year, a large group of hearty souls jumps in the mighty Columbia River and swims the 1.1-mile stretch across to Hood River. This is the annual Hood River County Chamber of Commerce’s Cross Channel Swim.
The swim, which annually attracts close to 500 participants from around the world, originated in 1942 when local orchardist Roy Webster challenged himself to swim across the river. On the day of the swim, participants board the famous Sternwheeler paddleboat on the south shore of the Columbia at the Hood River Port to be ferried across the river to the Washington shore. When signaled, swimmers jump off the Sternwheeler into the “refreshing” Columbia and head back for Hood River.To help them find their way, a special swim lane lined with volunteers in sail boats, kayaks, and paddle board are there to guide, encourage, and protect swimmers as they cross the channel.
The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest and the fourth largest river (by volume) in America. The most significant environmental force in this region of the United States, the Columbia runs for more than 1,200 miles from the base of the Canadian Rockies in southeastern British Columbia to the Pacific Ocean.
Roy Webster has passed on, but his family still owns the local orchard, now The Fruit Company, and they carry on the tradition of support for the Cross Channel Swim by participating in the event each year. Those wishing to swim in the annual event are encouraged to register early as the Cross Channel Swim has become one of the county’s most popular attractions.
To learn more about Roy Webster and the history of this event, visit: www.thefruitcompany.com/emails/eNewsletters/eNews_07August.htm
This Year’s Sponsors: