The SBCSA recommends using a support paddler (kayak or prone) for Santa Barbara Channel swims, but they are not required. The following paddlers are available for hire on channel swims:
I am a paddler, and have been on the board. I’ve helped 6 swimmers cross Catalina and Santa Barbara Channels, and paddled for many 6 mile races. It’s a unique experience helping someone achieve a cross channel swim with the group effort involved., and I love being on the ocean day or night!
- 20 yrs Professional Ocean Kayak Guide/Instructor
- 4 years Channel Swim Kayak Escort
I live and work on the Ocean and love supporting Channel Swimmers! I’ve paddled with swimmers from all over the world, escorting Island Circumnavigations, Channel Crossings, Island to Island Passages, feeding and encouraging them to achieve their Goal!!
I have accompanied solo swimmers in from 5 of the 8 Channel Islands. I am a kayak guide for Aquasports at Channel Islands National Park, with 28 years experience. I am available when not working.
I reside in Santa Barbara and have been a competitive swimmer for over 20 years. I have been an ocean lifeguard for 10 years and an EMT for 5 years. I have swum and support paddled the Semana Nautica 6-mile swim in Santa Barbara numerous times. I have been interested in getting involved with support paddling for marathon swims through my connection and conversations with Jane Cairns, as I have participated in her Reef and Run events for several years now. I am very comfortable in the water and am happy to support any swimmer that needs a paddler going out of Santa Barbara and Ventura/Channel Islands harbors.
I have been paddling for over 25 years and a Kayaking instructor for 20 years. I have supported over 13 Catalina Channel crossings and 2 Anacapa crossings as kayak support. I love helping swimmers reach their goals even if I think they are crazy for doing it. Let’s go for a swim!
I’m an ocean lifeguard, top of my class and experienced EMT. In crewing for a friend in 2016 I discovered a love for open water marathons and now am crewing, kayaking, buddy swimming, and taking on crossing the Catalina channel in 2017. I have never been seasick, stay alert and attentive overnight, and can lead a crew. Trips out of San Pedro and Orange County are most convenient for me but other locations may be accommodated. I have access to a kayak, SUP, and prone paddleboard as needed.
I’m a water person and grateful for the opportunity to join in supporting ocean swims. I’m comfortable on a kayak in rough conditions, don’t get seasick, and am educated in marine wildlife. In 2016 I crewed 4 swimmers across Channel Islands and am committed to swimmers’ happy success! I live 20 minutes from San Pedro Harbor and am willing to drive to Ventura or Santa Barbara as needed to support swims on the central coast. I have access to a kayak and will be trained as an observer starting in the 2017 season.
Southern California Channel Swim Support Paddler & Crew Network
Neil van der Byl and Grace van der Byl maintain a network of paddlers and crew willing to support channel swimmers. You can request to be paired with someone from this network by filling out this form.
If you are interested in supporting other people’s swims - as a paddler or crew person - you can join the network by filling out this form.