When Hall of Famer Jaimie Monohan reached out and asked if Oru Kayak would support her Guinness World Record attempt, it was a no-brainer. The challenge she faced was a daunting one, but her drive and resume of epic swims had us feeling like if anyone could do it, should could. After Jaimie successfully completed her expedition, we caught up with her to get an inside look at how things went down.
About Jaimie: Jaimie Monahan is an American ice swimmer and ultra-marathon swimmer from New York City who has enjoyed cold water swimming everywhere from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle. In July 2017, Jaimie was the first person in history to complete the Ice Sevens Challenge, swimming a mile in ice water on all seven continents. She is also a seven-time US National Champion in Winter Swimming.
In addition to her extreme cold swims Jaimie has completed solo non-stop ultra-marathon endurance swims up to 92 km (57 miles) and 33 hours in duration. She holds speed records and has completed unprecedented swims in the world's most beautiful and iconic locations. Jaimie is a 2018 Inductee of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, the 2017 and 2016 World Open Water Swimming Association Woman of the Year and won the 2017 Yudovin Award for Most Adventurous Swim and 2016 Barra Award for Best Overall Year by the Global Marathon Swimmers Federation.
What were the details of this attempt?
This challenge was a personal project to complete 6 marathon swims on 6 continents in 16 days and set a Guinness World Record. Over the course of just over 2 weeks, we flew 26,000 miles with our Oru Bay ST kayak and kit, swam a marathon (10km/6 miles to 46km/28.5 miles) in each destination and enjoyed an amazing adventure with friends around the world.
What was your motivation for going after this particular goal?
In this day and age, almost everything has been done. But while historical explorers enjoyed a wide range of undiscovered territory to discover, travel logistics in this day and age are so much simpler. I thought it would be fun to design a challenge to take advantage of our modern conveniences like quick and comfortable air travel, easy hotel bookings, and amazing innovations like the Oru portable origami kayak.
What were some of the challenges you ran into?
Jetting around the world we literally were going from chilly winter to the height of summer in alternating locations. We faced extreme water temperatures on either end ranging from 15C/59F in beautiful Sydney, Australia during their winter, to 34C/93F in tropical locations like Colombia, Singapore, and Egypt. Adverse currents and poisonous jellyfish also posted a risk to the project but we persevered and had a great time.
What were some highs and lows?
Overall it was an amazing experience. Just being able to see the world on fast forward was an incredibly exciting and beautiful journey. Getting stung by jellyfish in Alexandria, Egypt was painful, but it was completely outweighed by the beauty of getting caught in a rainstorm in Singapore, swimming along Sydney’s stunning coastline, or swimming through the clear cool waters of beautiful Lac Leman, Switzerland. The final swim of the challenge, a 28.5 mile/46km circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in NYC was a huge high – seeing amazing landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, and completing the challenge in my own home waters was incredibly meaningful.
Was your Oru Kayak useful during the attempt?
This project would not have been possible without the Oru Bay ST origami kayak. The compact and portable design allowed us to travel with it in our checked luggage, easily store in hotel rooms, and transport via public transportation, taxis, and rideshares in every location. The ease of use was incredible – just 10 minutes to put together or fold back up before/after each swim. It was easy to clean and held up amazingly well for a journey involving 26,000 miles of air travel and multiple connections. Everywhere we went people were enthralled by the Oru, marveling at its ingenious design and how convenient it is. I absolutely love how it is perfectly suited to this extreme challenge as well as my everyday active life in New York City, home of limited storage and small apartments!
Congratulations to Jaimie on this incredible accomplishment. We are proud to have supported in even the smallest way!