Hood River, Ore. – September 3, 2018 –The Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim was cancelled this morning by the Hood River County Sherriff’s Office due to high winds, which created unsafe water conditions for both the swimmers and the watercrafts that form the safety corridor. This was the second year in a row that the 75th Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim had to be cancelled; last year, Hood River emergency support services were diverted to the Eagle Creek Fire, which caused the event cancellation.
“Calling off the swim at the last moment – especially after last year’s cancellation – was the last thing anyone wanted to do, but safety for everyone involved is of paramount importance. We appreciate everyone’s understanding,” said Mike Glover, President/CEO of the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the annual event. “One of the best things about this open swim is that it is in the middle of the incredible Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area, but because of that, nature is really ultimately in charge. We look forward to seeing everyone back here next year and hope that third time is the charm for 75th annual swim!”
The Columbia’s biggest and oldest open-water swim got its start in 1942 when local orchardist Roy Webster decided to challenge himself by swimming across the Columbia River from Bingen, Wash., to Hood River, Ore. It has only been cancelled four times since it became an organized event.
In the seven-and-a-half decades since Webster’s inaugural swim, thousands of people from across the country and around the world have taken on the challenge. Each year, the event attracts 500 participants who brave the 69-degree waters and swim one mile across the iconic Columbia. The Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim is presented by the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce and The Fruit Company.