A South African, Toni Enderli, has just completed his 3rd brutal open water swim across the Molokai Channel in Hawaii, in his heroic quest to become the first South African to complete Oceans 7, seven of the world’s most gruelling open water swims.
Oceans 7, consists of seven long-distance swims and is considered the marathon swimming equivalent of the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge. Only 7 people have ever successfully completed the Oceans 7 swims. Steve Redmond was the first in 2012. It includes the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar.
Toni has already completed the 34km English Channel and the 18km Strait of Gibraltar and through donations
is raising funds for the National Sea Rescue Institute’s water safety programme to help prevent drownings.
In this 3rd open-water swim, Toni braved over 20 hours and 35 minutes in shark infested waters, suffered consistent jellyfish stings and fought a punishing rip tide to conquer one of the world’s harshest ocean swims. Although the channel is 42km wide, Enderli – wearing only a Speedo costume, cap and goggles -covered about 58km due to severe currents to become the fourth South African and 57th swimmer globally to successfully swim one of the world’s most treacherous bodies of water, also known as the “channel of bones”, notorious for claiming scores of seafarers’ lives.
Longest night of my life
Property consultant and motivational speaker, Enderli who is 39, says that this was his toughest day on this planet and the longest night of his life. “I encountered dolphins, saw two sharks which fortunately kept their distance and was stung consistently by jellyfish on my entire body, including my nose and face. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced.”
“After sunrise, I had 10km to go, could see land and reached a notorious ledge renowned for a vicious rip which has thwarted many swimmers. The current pushed me back for seven hours. It was soul destroying. But I dug deep, reminded myself I was doing this to help others and pushed on. Near the end I was faced with a huge shore break but got through and collapsed on the beach,” he continues.
What it takes
Achieving the Oceans 7 requires an ability to swim in both very cold and very warm seas. It also demands the swimmer is physically and mentally prepared to overcome every condition known to defeat open water swimmers, from strong currents to stiff winds, from jellyfish to rough seas. Like its mountaineering cousin, the Oceans Seven requires a tremendous amount of planning, time, financial resources and multi-national support teams of knowledgeable local experts.
Asked what drives and motivates him to undertake what seems impossible? Enderli says: “I am driven by my passion for life, my family and a desire to help others. I believe in unleashing the mind’s full potential, constantly pushing boundaries to achieve dreams and helping make a difference by giving back,” he concludes.
Enderli’s next swim is the icy 22km Cook Strait between New Zealand’s North and South Island’s in early 2018.
With thanks to Leap Communications