Category Archives: What’s Happening

Our periodical updates of what is happening in the Parks and Aquatics arena.

The Forth Annual Whidbey Adventure Swim

The forth annual Whidbey Adventure Swim (WAS) was held on the quiet morning of August 2, 2014. The low cloud cover seemed to soothe Saratoga Passage into a smooth gloss, with clear visibility across to Camano—perfect and unusually calm conditions for a swim in Puget Sound. By 8:45 am, the near-capacity event had all 37 swimmers registered, wet-suited up, and ready to hit the water. After swimming out to a deep-water start buoy, swimmers waited for the race signal to start. Per WAS custom, the starting horn was…unique. At the blast (well, really, a loud yell of “go!” from shore) 37 pairs of arms began slicing the waves, heading north toward the first turn buoy.

The yearly event is sponsored by the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation, a nonprofit organization started in December 2009, dedicated to making parks and aquatic activities accessible to all. All yearly race proceeds go to sponsor aquatics programs and activities on Whidbey.

This year the course was changed to one large rectangle, which followed the shore. The expansion of the course route allowed swimmers competing in the 1.2 mile race to complete one lap. Swimmers opting for the longer 2.4 mile swim circled the course twice. The change was well received by all participants, both short and long course.
“It was nice to do just one loop this year. Scenery was beautiful!” said Danielle Rideout, a four-year veteran of the race.

Top finishers included Chad Hagedorn from Tacoma, with a short-course time of 26.53, and Eric Dolven of Bothell, with a time of 55:08 for the long course. All levels of experienced, open-water swimmers participated, with many simply swimming for the fun and camaraderie of the sport. “It’s always good fun to see who comes out for the race,” said Jeff Jacobsen, WAS committee member. “We get swimmers from all over the country and Canada signing up once registration opens.”

Some of our voluteers; kayakers and life guards on paddle boards.

As with any open-water swim event, safety was tantamount, and organization took time and talent. The 2014 race once again had many invaluable volunteers—from healthcare workers to lifeguards to sponsors and committee members—all of whom made the 2014 WAS fun, exciting, and safe for all participants.

Also new this year were event t-shirts, designed and individually colored by internationally acclaimed glass-artist and Whidbey resident John deWit. A limited number of mixed sizes remain available for sale; if interested, please contact us at

When asked about the perfect swim conditions before the race, event coordinator Emily Weinheimer said, “We just got lucky. You never know when it comes to Puget Sound. It’s both beautiful and wild. And that’s what makes this race an adventure.”

A happy winner of one of our door prizes.

Wetsuit 101

We received a lot of questions about renting and buying wetsuits as we gave our open water swim clinics, so here’s a brief Wetsuit 101:

  • Swimming wetsuits are different from surfing or scuba wetsuits. Read product descriptions for ‘smooth skin neoprene.’  The chest and legs should be about 5 m thick and the shoulders should be about 1.5-2 m thick. Here’s a short video that discusses what to look for.

  • Sizing: it should be snug, tight even.  You don’t want water to trickle down through the neck. Sleeveless v. Sleeved depends on water temp, length of swim, and swimmer build.  Those with broad shoulders may be more comfortable in a sleeveless.  Wetsuits come in more specific sizes than just S, M, L or 8, 10, 12.  It’s worth trying on a couple of sizes to ensure best fit.

  • Just a few of the good brands: Blueseventy, Orca, TYR, Aquasphere, Promotion, Xterra, and more.

  • Putting on & taking off a wetsuit: Apply any non-petroleum lubricant like Body Glide, cooking oil spray, butt balm, et cetera on neck, wrists, ankles to prevent chafing and aid faster removal of the suit.  Start with pulling the suit on your calves and slowly work your way up to torso.  You want to pull from inside the suit because nails easily puncture the outer layer.

  • When to buy a wetsuit: Best prices are found in the fall and early winter when retailers are clearing older inventory and selling the previous season’s rental suits.  If there’s a specific brand you like, it may be worth it to get on their mailing list so you are notified about sales and deals.  And check local list serves like craigslist for used suits.

  • Just a few of the places that sell swim gear: Endurance Sports (Mukilteo), Speedy Reedy (Seattle), REI. Online:,,

Eat a Book! (March 29th)

The Edible Book Festival is returning to Whidbey Island

Bring an entry – or just come ready to eat one!

Brought back for a second helping after its debut last year, the second annual South Whidbey Edible Book Festival returns on March 29th. The Festival is seeking clever cooks and hungry readers to participate in this annual international celebration of books, art and food. It is both a contest and fundraising event – this year all proceeds will benefit The South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation. We will donate the funds to The Rotary Basketball Court.

The guidelines are – it can look like a book, it can act like a book, it can be a pun on a book. It can be inspired by a book cover or character. The only rule: it must be edible! Contestants may enter an appetizer, entree or dessert so get creative and have some fun. All entrees should be family friendly.

Entering is free – and there are six categories this year. Categories include Best In Show, Best Visual Presentation, Most “Pun”derful, Most Appetizing, Teen, and Children under 12. Winners are chosen by an audience vote.

The event is scheduled for 1 to 4 PM at Bayview Hall on March 29th. All entries should be on site by 1:15 PM. Judging and photography will take place between 2 and 3 PM. Once voting is done and the winners are announced, forks will be provided.

To see examples, get inspiration, and register an entry, visit the event’s Facebook Page at:

Looking for new board members

  • Fundraisers and Grant Writers: to solicit donations, in both large and small amounts

  • Organizers: to manage events and volunteers

  • Writers & Designers: to create and deliver content for website(s), hand-outs, press releases, and social media

  • Marketing: to help create awareness of our org and mission via events, PR, websites and social media

  • Doers & Volunteers: to work events, help with programming, do research, etc.

  • Facilitators: to help us develop partnerships with other health, sports, non-profit, and targeted age group organizations