Race With A View On The North Shore

Can't beat the view from this biathlon route.PHOTO COURTESY ADAM LUCHS

Can’t beat the view from this biathlon route.PHOTO COURTESY ADAM LUCHS

When it comes to visiting Hawaii, there’s nothing like a room with a view.

Truth is, people spend big money a get a glimpse of our beautiful mountains and ocean.

But coughing up cash isn’t the only way to see the state’s many scenic views. Local biathletes recently got the opportunity to do just that and much more when they competed in the inaugural Turtle Bay Biathlon.

Call it a race with a view. “It’s an ocean swim and trail run on the Turtle Bay property through Kawela Bay,” says event director Adam Luchs. “It’s a beautiful course, and with the amazing conditions, it’s definitely a great day on the North Shore.”

The event was open to all comers regardless of experience or fitness level. Athletes were given the option of competing on two different courses. The first is a Master’s long course, with a 1,200-meter ocean swim from Ola restaurant around Kuilima Point, followed by a 5K run through marked loop trails along the coastline at Kawela Bay, and ending on the great lawn at Turtle Bay Resort. The second, the Shaolin short course, featured a shorter and much friendlier 1,000-meter swim followed by the 5K trail run through Kawela Bay.

Luchs says both swims take athletes along the Kuilima Bay coastline, around a World War II bunker at what locals call “Protection Point,” finishing in a safe and shallow sandy beach area.

“There are so many great visuals on the courses, especially the run,” exclaims an excited Luchs. “It’s an incredible coastline race along the beach, through banyan trees, rolling hills, inside jungle terrain and grassy fields. It is more than manageable for novice biathletes, yet challenging enough for the elite as well.”

The Turtle Bay Biathlon is the brainchild of Luchs, who saw the need for such an event on the North Shore property. Luchs took his vision a step further by turning the event into a benefit for Hawaii’s Lifeguard and Water Safety Fund.

“The mission of this nonprofit organization is to raise public awareness about ocean safety and coastline sustainability and turn that awareness into education with programs for elementary school-age kids,” says Luchs. “Most of the proceeds raised will be used to help fund and provide additional programming and training for Hawaii’s children.”

Luchs says it is crucial to stress the importance of maintaining a safe and sustainable environment for the future of Hawaii, and notes one of the ways the organization does this is by addressing one of the state’s most alarming problems.

“It’s interesting to know that Hawaii is the fifth leading state for accidental drownings, and we should really be much lower than that,” he says with concern.

The nonprofit goes one step further in its focus to spread the word about ocean safety by providing the community with a free publication, Hawaii Lifeguard Water Safety and Rescue Magazine.

“We as a community need to be much more ocean aware and conscious, and this nonprofit looks to teach people how to be safe in the ocean and respectful to this valuable resource,” says Luchs.

Participants enjoyed a post-race party and awards ceremony with live music by the Artis Family Band, as well as an aerial yoga performance. The event also featured several food booths and products from North Shore shops and restaurants.

Luchs says it is his vision to make this an annual event on Oahu’s North Shore. It most certainly is off to a great start.

“This race will get bigger and better,” says Luchs. “It has the potential to become a great event!”

And why wouldn’t it? Especially with a view like that!