The 8.5km course was covered in 10-15 knot winds which created a little chop and a challenging swim for all. The race started from , a location renowned for its picturesque scenery. With swimmers accompanied by 59 escort kayakers, outriggers and surf ski paddlers, support boats and onlookers and supporters perched on the best vantage points of the historic jetty and the granite rock headlands surrounding Picnic Bay and it's reef fringed shallows. Picture postcard perfect!
With a 12:30pm race start, swimmers were then faced with the challenge of linking up with their individual paddler 500m offshore. Teams made their escort link up after swimming over the Reef and, then on with the race and its new format. Swimmers were guided through the course by new hot pink fluoro buoys! The final zig zag course into the beach proved challenging for all swimmers, with the beach in clear view by this stage! The last swimmers completed the course in just over 3 hours which was an impressive effort by a broad group of competent swimmers ranging in age from 16 to 62 years.
First to the mainland was 16 year old Sam Hoffman, in a time of 1hr 44mins 15 secs, followed closely by 2007 winner, Greg Woodward in 1'45''42secs. In third place and first female was Kylie Muldoon in 1'46''43. Penny Palfrey took out 4th place overall while making her 17th crossing in 1'48''02 (a week after lading the women home in , NYC). Tyson Reeve and Stephen Spence won the team's category in 1'55''23. Congratulations to the many swimmers completing in their first open water swim of this distance and, to those who travelled from across and to compete in this both historic and iconic Australian swimming event.
Special thanks go to our naming rights sponsor, the . The team category was proudly supported by Austax, and all individual prizes and event support was sponsored by Ripcurl and Salt 66. Other sponsors include the Townsville City Council, Dallecort Financial Services, Coral Coast Produce Logistics and Twin Cities Pools. Special thanks go to our band of enthusiastic paddlers, boaties and volunteers, without whom the event would not have been the resounding success it has been.