Columbia River Cross Channel Swim, Hood River Oregon

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Columbia River Cross Channel Swim

What began as a family tradition way back in 1942 when Roy Webster, accompanied by a few friends and family members took to swimming in the Columbia River in Oregon has today turned into a national event that draws teams and individual swimmers from across the nation. It is a passionate race to swim the channel.

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Organization: Hood River County Chamber of Commerce
Date: 09/05/2016 update info
Time: 5:45:00 AM - 10:00:00 AM
Event Cost: varies
Venue: Columbia River in Hood River,OR
Contact: Hood River Chamer of Commerce
Event Details:

At dawn on Labor Day each year, a large group of hearty souls jumps in the mighty Columbia River and swims the 1.1-mile stretch across to Hood River. The Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim – Columbia River's biggest and oldest official swim event, attracting hundreds of participants from around the world – originated in 1942 when local orchardist Roy Webster challenged himself to swim across the river. On the day of the swim, participants board the famous Sternwheeler paddleboat on the south shore of the Columbia, at the Hood River Port, and are ferried across the river to the Washington shore. When signaled, swimmers jump off the Sternwheeler into the "refreshing" Columbia and head back for Hood River. To help them find their way, a special swim lane lined with volunteers in sailboats, kayaks and paddleboards are there to guide, encourage, and protect swimmers as they cross the channel. This popular event fills up quickly, so be sure to register early! Registration opens on March 1. Sign up here to receive official Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim newsletter and notification of the online registration link. Roy Webster has passed on, but his family still owns the local orchard – now – and they carry on Roy's legacy by participating in the event each year.To learn more about Roy Webster and the history of this event, visit:

  • A Labor Day Ritual for many
  • Over 550 swimmers each year
  • A challenge to swim across the Columbia River from Washington to Oregon

Overview: The Columbia River Cross Channel Swim is organized and sponsored by the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce. Enthusiasts of the Columbia River Cross Channel opt for the Labor Day for the personal challenge of an early morning swim to cross the Columbia River.

When: Typically a Labor Day weekend event each year

Where: Columbia River outside Hood River

Fees: Entry fees vary. Free for the public to watch

Details: Participant swimmers are usually ferried to an area near the Washington shore, from where they leave in ten-people formations to swim around a mile to the Oregon shore, displaying a unique picture of determination and courage. However, in true sense of the word, the event is not a race where each swimmer takes his or her own time to reach the shore. Some even abandon the swim and are then picked up by attending rescue boats.