Man seeks to become first to finish solo swim from Oahu to Kauai

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former Hawaii resident is trying to become the first person to swim solo from Oahu to Kauai. The long-distance, currents, and sharks are obvious dangers, but for Chris Shoup, 53, his biggest challenges could be the Portuguese man 'o war, his state of mind and the escort boat itself.

"I've got a lot of nerves and apprehensions and stuff, but just like when I did Iron Man races and everything else, as soon as the gun goes off and I start moving, it all goes aside," said Shoup.

In 2010, Australian marathon swimmer, Penny Palfrey, tried to make the 75 mile swim from Kaena Point to Nawiliwili Harbor, but failed she became debilitated by a soup of stinging man 'o war.

Shoup, who now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and his team will be using a 7-foot net put together with shower curtains and PVC piping. It'll be dragged off a kayak in front of Shoup as he swims which he hopes will catch the man 'o war. Thursday, they set it up and did a practice swim in the marina in Hawaii Kai and Maunalua Bay.

"I figure that should eliminate 95 percent of the sting," said Shoup.

Besides the man 'o war, Shoup's escort boat driver, Matt Buckman of Hawaii Kai, says a kayaker will help with with water, food and keeping Shoup mentally sound as his endures the 75 mile swim.

Buckman acknowledges another danger is his own boat

"A lot of people don't realize, one of his biggest dangers is me, the boat driver because he could be propped," he said.

Buckman plans to chart the course carefully, which includes darkness over the 32 to 34 hour swim. They plan to leave Oahu either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.

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