Long the domain of the Surf Lifesaving ‘clubbie’, corporate bigwig, or off-season triathlete, ocean swimming has enjoyed a boom in popularity and participation in the past decade, with no signs of slowing down.
So, what’s behind this surge?
Theories range from the urge to spend more time outdoors any way we can, through to the insight that pool swimming doesn’t offer the same degree of challenge as the ocean, but what really drives so many to get involved in ocean swimming goes deeper.
Since 2006, close to 35,000 swimmers have taken part in the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series. Of those swimmers, every one of them are on their own individual journey, whether that be towards fitness or lifestyle goals, milestones or bucket lists, yet bound together by the love of swimming in the ocean
Looking overseas, it’s not hard to see the big trends emerging across all ocean-related events, not just swimming. Check out these three major wavelengths (no pun intended) that ought to be on the radar for every event team, or sponsor, looking to maximise the appetite for ocean events.
Whether it’s picture-postcard scenery like the Maldives, a touch of danger like San Francisco Harbour or the island clusters of Indonesia, the market is heating up when it comes to pushing the boundaries around where an ocean event can take place.
The more adventurous, iconic or jaw-dropping, the better.
Combining an ocean event with a trip to a desirable holiday spot is also on the rise, as travel providers and events partner more frequently than ever before to create and deliver premium events around the world.
See: OceanFit’s Wet & Wild Weekends
Race or simply reach your goals
The very best in ocean events are offering a diversified experience according to the level of skill or ambition. Only catering to elite or highly experienced participants is sure-fire way to polarize the biggest opportunity – the casual or low-key punter.
Opening up options that intentionally offer entry-level or mid-range experiences, alongside more intense products, not only widens the number taking part but also positions events as embracing recreational participants – a major plus for the majority of potential audiences.
Engineering ocean events to deliver against environmental or sustainability goals, lead from the front by event teams or sponsors, is critical to the continued success of this type of event and is not just a ‘nice-to-do’ but an expectation of those taking part in organised recreational events.
Making it part of your business ethos to seek out ways to have a lighter environmental footprint demonstrates mindfulness that aligns with the general public sentiment.
Partnering with experts and organisations who can collaborate in an authentic way to deliver initiatives that stretch into helping preserve and protect ocean environments is extremely powerful too.
With all this in mind, the future is not just looking bright, but looking really interesting for ocean events of all kinds.
We’re taking in as much inspiration and information as we can from around the globe to continually innovate in our part of the world and who knows what’s next? We can’t wait!