Harry Huffaker

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Dr. Huffaker as a child
Dr. Harry Huffaker is an American open water swimmer who was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2011 as an Honour Swimmer. The dentist from Michigan represents the very best of the open water swimming community who was recognized for his unprecedented adventures and world-class exploits in the channels of the Hawaiian Islands.

Dr. Huffaker is a true pioneer in ocean swimming the dangerous channels in Hawaii. Throughout his illustrious career in the pre-GPS era, he has faced sharks up close, jellyfish, massive ocean swells and extremely strong currents during unprecedented swims in the tropical waters of Hawaii.

During his 1967 Molokai Channel swim, Dr. Huffaker saw a large shark underneath him and immediately headed for his escort boat, but the shark then swam between him and his boat, which was too far away for an easy escape. He continued on and ultimately reached his goal after 16 hours.

Dr. Huffaker was the first person to cross the 30-mile Alenuihaha Channel in 20 hours between the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui in 1970 after his initial failure of 17 hours. He crossed the Molokai Channel from Molokai to Oahu in 1967 and was the first person to cross between Oahu to Molokai in 1972 after a failed 20-hour attempt when he ran into strong currents, a tiger shark and a brood of Portuguese man o war.

At the age of 50 in 1989, he swam from Lanai to Maui, then Maui to Molokai, then attempted to complete his final Molokai-to-Maui leg before being pulled after 18 hours. He has swum the Maui Channel three times, was the first person to cross the 9.3-mile Kalohi Channel (1989) from Molokai to Lanai and crossed the 8.5-mile Palilolo Channel from Maui to Molokai (1989).

He spoke at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on the RMS Queen Mary on 22 September 2012 in Long Beach, California.

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