I want to recreate the swimming scenes in Gattaca
August 23, 2010 1:19 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find long (1-2 miles?) open water swimming near Santa Barbara? Obviously, I know about the ocean.

I'm new to the area and I'd love to find a place to go for a really long swim. To me, that means a mile, maybe a bit more. Something a little less would be good too. I haven't really gone swimming at any of the beaches here, I'm not sure which ones are good for swimming. Anyway, I'm not comfortable just going into the water and swimming really far since I'm never sure how far I've gone and I don't have any goal to visualize. I saw Lake Cachuma and thought that might be a great place to swim across, but it's prohibited there. Any other lakes? Any small islands off the coast of a beach I could swim to and then back? Anything within about an hour of SB would suit my purposes, I'd only want to do this maybe once a week.

Also, any recommendations for beaches/swimming in the area in general would be appreciated. I'm just getting to know SB and it is awesome.
posted by bluejayk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
Maybe start by going to one of the SB Channel Swimming Association's swims?
posted by dolface at 1:35 PM on August 23, 2010

I would think that you could swim out through the waves in Goleta, off the campus of UCSB, and just swim Northwards parallel to the shore, and then swim back. That is what a lot of swimmers do in So Cal.

Or drive down to Rincon (Bates Beach) and take of North from there.
posted by Danf at 1:36 PM on August 23, 2010

It looks like there are few large bodies of water that you can legally enter. Pawing around Google Maps, I found Jameson Lake, but public entry is illegal because it's a public source of water.

With that, your best bet is the ocean. If you haven't gone too far in the ocean, start by swimming along the coast, because swimming through choppy water can wear you out a lot faster than lake swimming. Even if you are used to it and just unsure about your endurance, you can easily chart the length from places on land and keep them as visual markers for your own progress, vs swimming out to sea and back. I've gone around sterns warf, but you'd have to avoid fishing lines, which can be annoying, and it's only ~0.3 mile long. But if you did choose to go around, you could get ~0.6 mile by going from one side to the other, and you could get over a mile if you returned.

I also stumbled across SantaBarbaraChannelSwim.org (or SBChannelSwim.org, which gets you to the same site), which has the Ocean Ducks daily swim group (alternative direct link: OceanDucks.com, which re-directs to SB Channel Swim =), and they do a range of swims, with a common one being +/- 1 mile. (On preview: what dolface said =)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:45 PM on August 23, 2010

Thanks guys, I had found the SantaBarbaraChannelSwim.org site, but didn't thoroughly check it because I thought it was just a club for the 26 mile channel swim.

Any specific beaches I should check out? Thanks very much!
posted by bluejayk at 1:54 PM on August 23, 2010

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