Bay of Islands Classic



Nestled in the stunning Bay of Islands, Paihia and New Zealand’s first capital Russell set the scene once again for the State Bay of Islands Classic – the second of six events in the State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series.

Build on the buzz of last season, where we had perfect conditions for the day. The 7th December is a perfect date to swim one of the four State Bay of Islands Classic events, with not only favourable conditions and warm waters, but with the event being on the Saturday morning, the rest of the weekend will be yours to explore the stunning Bay of Islands.

NEWSFLASH: fund raise for Surf Life Saving NZ and get your individual / series entry FOR FREE! Click here for details.

Swim Start & Safety Briefing Times

The State Bay of Islands Classic event provides an ocean swim event for all ages and abilities.

  • The ‘I’m Going Long’ 3.3km Ocean Swim starts in Russell at 10.30am and finishes in Paihia. The compulsory safety briefing is at 10.10am. This swim is for individuals with swimming experience and have trained to complete this event.
  • The ‘Step It Up’ 1000m Ocean Swim, taking place on Paihia Beach at 12.35pm, is an achievable distance for individuals with swimming experience and could be training for the ‘I’m Going Long’ swim at one of the other events. The compulsory safety briefing is at 12.30pm.
  • The ‘Give It A Go’ 300m Ocean Swim, taking place on Paihia Beach at 1.15pm, is a great introduction to open water swimming. The compulsory safety briefing is at 1.10pm.
  • The State OceanKids, kicking off at 1.20pm, is for children aged between 6-10 years old and consists of a fun 30minute safety activity session followed by a 200m shallow water swim along the Paihia beach shore line, lined with Surf Life Saving NZ guards – read more.

I’m Going Long – 3.3km

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Step It Up – 1000m

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Give It A Go – 300m

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State Ocean Kids – 200m

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Swimmer Information Sheet

Click HERE for the State Bay of Islands Classic Swimmer Information Sheet. In it will be everything you need to know about the event (event parking, event site services and activities, prize giving information etc), helping to make it a better, more informed experience for you and your support crew!

Swim Pack Pick up / Registration Details

See below the details of the swim pack pick up / registration for the State Bay of Islands Classic event this season. This is usually more busy than normal at the beginning and end, so to avoid the queues, we recommend coming in the middle of the registration period.

Swim pack pick up / registration details:
Friday 6 December 2013
5.00PM – 9.00PM
Waitaha Events Centre, Copthorne Bay of Islands, Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi, Bay of Islands

If you can’t make the registration event – check out our swim pack courier service below.

All entrants will receive:

  • A timing chip which is loaned to you for the event
  • A swim cap that you must wear for the duration of the event
  • A State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series branded beach towel from our principal sponsor State insurance (one per season)
  • A personalised certificate that you can download and print at no charge from the results page
  • Other sponsor goodies
  • State bag transfer service (for ‘I’m Going Long’ competitors only)
  • State bag tent at main event site for all competitors

Swim Pack Courier:

If you can’t make the swim pack pick up event above, you can pre-pay for your swim pack (including swim cap, timing chip etc) to be couriered to you the week leading up to the event. In the interest in keeping your costs down, couriers are split into two zones at different prices. Note: couriers purchased with incorrect zones may not reach you in time. Please check here for more information about couriers and see which zone and price your courier will be.

Please note that Swim Pack courier orders for the State Bay of Islands Classic close at 5pm Wednesday 27 November 2013, so make sure you purchase yours before this date if you would like your Swim Pack couriered to you.

You can book and pay for this courier service when entering online or purchase from the ocean swim storefeatureEnterButton

Important dates:

11:59PM – Friday 11 October 2013 – Online Early-bird pricing finishes
5.00PM – Wednesday 27 November 2013 – Swim Pack courier orders close
11:59PM – Friday 29 November 2013 – $5 late entry fee applies
11.59PM – Thursday 5 December 2013 – Online registrations close
ALL DAY – Saturday 7 December 2013 – $5 event day late entry fee applies

Event Day Transport

We have chartered one-way ferries for ‘I’m Going Long’ swim competitors only from Paihia Ferry Terminal to Russell Wharf. As there are two cruise ships in the Bays of Islands on the 7th December, we have limited ferry options this year. Ferries will depart at 8.50am, 9.20am and 9.45am, please don’t be late. NOTE: the 9.20am ferry is now sold out. Swimmers bags will be transported back to the finish area at Paihia Beach during the race. Please pack light.

Ferry tickets can be purchased for $7.50 each when you enter online, through the online store or at the registration event.

Fullers public ferries between Paihia and Russell

For spectators wanting to get to Russell and back for the ‘I’m Going Long’ swim start, Intercity operate regular passenger and car ferries to get them there.

The 10 minute car ferry, from Opua (7 minutes from Paihia) to Okiato (10 minutes from Russell) is suitable for all vehicles including trucks, buses, and campervans. Tickets are purchased on board. Check out below their contact details for timetables and prices.

The 15 minute public passenger ferry is from Paihia Wharf and Russell Pier. Tickets can be purchased at the Fuller Great Sights office or on board. Check out below their contact details for timetables and prices.

Fullers InterCity Ferries
(09) 402 7421 – Paihia
(09) 403 7866 – Russell

Bag Transfer Service and Bag Tent

State provide a Free Bag Transport service for ‘I’m Going Long’ competitors from the Russell start line to the Paihia finish line. Please use the swim packs provided and leave them in the bag trailer by 10.10am sharp. Any bags dropped off after this time may not be ready for collection before 11.30am at the State Bag Tent at the Paihia Beach event site. This tent is also available for other swim competitors. This is on an all care and no responsibility basis.

Prize Giving

The State Bay of Islands Classic prize giving will take place at 2.10pm on Saturday 7 December 2013 in the Paihia Village Green. Join us to celebrate the swimmers and be in for a chance to win some great spot prizes! This year there will be a craft market in the Green as well, so there will be plenty of things to do before prize giving starts.


Check out the Millennium Hotels’ page for great accommodation deals at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Bay of Islands – especially for State New Zealand Ocean Swimmers, friends and families. Price includes a free pair of swim goggles (one per room) and a liquid breakfast to get you going in the morning! Get in quick as rooms are limited. featureEnterButton

Cut off times

The cut off times for the State Bay of Islands Classic are:

  • ‘I’m Going Long’ 3.3km – 2 hours from your wave/group start
  • ‘Step It Up’ 1000m – 40 minutes from your group start
  • ‘Give It Go’ 300m – 13 minutes

Contingency Course


In the event of weather that prevents the ‘I’m Going Long’ 3.3km swim from being able to cross the Bay safely the swim will move to a smaller 2km triangular course off Paihia Beach. If this decision is made you will be informed at the event registration or first thing on the event morning by email / text and on our website & Facebook page. If conditions change significantly on event day morning, a text message will be sent out to all ‘I’m Going Long’ swimmers and we will have event crew stationed in Russell sending swimmers back to Paihia on our chartered ferries. The event will start 30 minutes later at 11.00am.

Safe Swimming Tip from Water Safety NZ

Learn to Swim. Learn to Survive.

Inspirational Story

After coming and watching my brother and son for the last 2 years swim in every event I decided to learn to swim, and this year I actually completed the challenge of swimming from Russell to Paihia. OMG what a buzz to participate in the event I have watched for 2 years. Anything is possible. The best part was seeing the look on my sons face – priceless!!

Read more inspirational swimming stories

Proudly supported by:

The State Bay of Islands Classic is proudly supported by the Far North District Council.