WeissCrax: Swimming with Ducks

Cyndi Coin, Dawn Nelson, Andreya Von Waldenfels relax on shore after swimming

Randy and his friend Tim Hayes, left.

They come from all walks of life.

They fly in from near and far.

A call of ‘the wild’ and a sense of adventure brings them together …

At the beach.

Always at the beach.

Any season, too…

We’re talking ducks.

Not ordinary ducks. No, sireee…

What makes them especially special is that they’re Oceanducks.

According to their website:

Oceanducks was established to encourage ocean swimming as a way to good health, strong body, and serenity of spirit. Originally established in South America, Oceanducks is now in the USA with headquarters in Santa Barbara, California.

Our vision locally is that through regular swimming encounters, we can rally the young and the not so young to partake in this wonderful communion with the ocean. We offer swimming excursions in the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as regular swims and occasional social events in Santa Barbara, California.


You can find them at Goleta Beach at noon M-W-F.

Or 9 a.m. Sunday mornings – right here at Butterfly Beach, near The Four Seasons Biltmore Resort.

Hayes took Randy to Butterfly Beach for an ocean swim in January

Or Leadbetter, it is believed, for longer three and six mile Saturday swims …

Whatever beach – it’s their launching pad to a magical place with no boundaries. No borders. No lane lines. No restrictions.

And it all comes with some rather ‘heavenly’ benefits …

Like for Oceanduck Sharon Sayer, an Ellwood Elementary School physical education teacher whose sprained ankle while running seven years ago opened up a whole new world:

“When I’m in the ocean, there are no worries or concerns. It’s very spiritual – there’s ‘a real peace’ about it for me,” she sez. “And a sea lion came by to say hi a few minutes ago– that was so fun!”

While today’s pounding surf is perfect for the Rincon Classic just down the coast, it offers yet another challenge to these fun ducksters …

“Going out, I have to assemble all my inner strength and it’s harder coming in,” as Andreya Von Waldenfels of http://www.authenticyoga.net fame tells it. “But it all makes me strong, happy and content with myself.”

“Yes, it’s always an adventure,” offers Dawn Nelson, a local massage therapist who has been swimming since a kid. “But, I love the freedom. And the trace minerals you get from the salt water is good for your psyche!”

In addition to Oceanducks, Founder Emilio Casanueva also launched “the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association to support and record individual swimmers and relay teams crossing the Santa Barbara Channel.”

And for friends Lisa Stratton, who does ecological restoration for UCSB, and Pablo Navarro, President of Santa Barbara Control Systems – they’ve accomplished these relay channel crossings several times.

Pablo Navarro and Lisa Stratton went out for a swim

“We all love the ocean – that’s our bond,” Lisa sez.

“It’s different every time you go in and it’s very empowering,” adds Pablo.

And for Ducks Dean White, who also works at UCSB and Tim Hayes, an Occam Networks engineer, that bond might just be a little more ‘chill’ since they wear only bathing suits. Year round!

“What’s a wetsuit?” Dean chuckles. “Once you get going, it feels fine.”

With the mid-50-degree water temp – that may take a few extra strokes.

Afterwards, they all ‘break bread’ together on shore and happily share stories of their aquatic adventures … of long distance swims … of swimming with dolphins … and throughout it all it’s hard not to notice a certain passion — a certain glow on their faces with each tale.

It’s their bond and special communion with the ocean … with their spiritual being … with nature … with each other … with life. Founder Casanueva’s dream appears to live strong in each of them — both on land and at sea.

It all comes in the life of an Oceanduck.

And, perhaps, Cyndi Coyne, a performing artist in real life, sums it up best:

“There’s really nothing quite like it …”


  1. burrr. definitely sounds invigorating. : )