Bantham Swoosh

A world class 6km swim in the sandy bottomed Aune estuary, Devon




The Swoosh is a world class 6km estuary swim down the River Avon in Devon. Among the things that make it special is the fact the estuary we swim in is both shallow and sandy bottomed – so water is clear rather than muddy, and swimmers have a view of the sandy bed most of the way. The swim culminates in a “swoosh” as the ebbing tide is funnelled through a narrow section of river, speeding you along over the riverbed at up to four times your usual swimming speed. It can run at 8 knots. An exciting, invigorating, beautiful and fun swim, it is a great way to start a summer of swimming.

Read more about the 2019 event in the event report and gallery.


The  Sunrise Swoosh will take place on Saturday the 10th July 2021. The swim will start early on Saturday morning, as the sun rises over the Aune Estuary. Registration packs will be sent by post, but you will still need to leave time to register before your swim. Detailed event timings will be shared with swimmers in the event information pack, around 2 months before the event.


The Bantham Swoosh was cancelled in 2020 due to Coronavirus. Information on this cancellation can be found here. If you have a Seasonaire ticket (a ticket for all of our events in 2020) our latest update is here.

All 2020 tickets for the Sunrise Swoosh have automatically been carried over to the 2021 event, unless a refund was applied for. The refund window is now closed, but the free transfer window is open until 23rd May 2021 – the recipient of a ticket transfer can confirm the transfer here.


We recommend that swimmers are able to swim 5km confidently. There’s a pull downriver as the tide goes out, which makes life easier, but a bad weather day (chop or a headwind) can counteract that, so come prepared for less favourable conditions – this means practicing swimming in chop, headwinds and tidal currents.

A key test of the swim for most swimmers is the water temperature. The swim is early in the season, so while water temperature is not that dissimilar to the end of season (12-15 °C is expected), most swimmers aren’t so well acclimatised. Getting out in open water in May and June before the event is the way to prepare for this. 

Please note – the Swoosh occurs as the estuary narrows at the very end, you are not swooshed from start to finish! The swoosh is strongest later after high tide, meaning that the slower you swim, the more assistance you get from the swoosh. Everyone wins! 


Tim Bridges


The MiniSwoosh is for all the supporting children keen to get in the water! Children aged between 6 and 16 years are invited to swim the final 500-600m of the course – the ‘swoosh’ – with an adult they know and trust (parent or friend) who has taken part in the Sunrise Swoosh. The MiniSwoosh will take place from the Bantham boathouse (the format is slightly changed this year – see below). Children (accompanied by their adult) will swim (or float!) through the swoosh section to the finish line.

MiniSwoosh tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis via the ticket link at the top of this page. Entries for the MiniSwoosh will stay open until tickets are sold out. 


  • MiniSwooshers need two responsible adults – one to swim with, one to wait with them on land.
  • This year the MiniSwooshers will join their adult Swoosher as they finish their swim. As the adult you have two choices:  you can either drop into the boathouse on your way down the river and pick up your MiniSwoosher for the final section (this will affect the parent/guardian’s overall swim time for the Sunrise Swoosh). Or you finish your own swim first before making your way to the boathouse to swoosh again with their MiniSwoosher. A responsible adult who is taking part in the Sunrise Swoosh must accompany each MiniSwoosher.
  • Responsible adults can do the MiniSwoosh a number of times with different MiniSwooshers, but can only take one child at a time.
  • Each MiniSwoosher must be a competent swimmer, with some experience of swimming in moving and unheated water. We want to encourage the next generation so ask you to be cautious: the Swoosh will be fast by the time they enter and moving cold water is instinctively alarming to children without any experience of a current, or sea temperatures. The Swoosh is great fun when children are ready for it, but intimidating if they are not. If they’re not ready this year, there is plenty of time.
  • MiniSwooshers waiting at the boathouse need a parent or guardian with them at all times – this means that a second responsible adult will need to be present whilst MiniSwooshers wait for the responsible adult swimming the Sunrise Swoosh to meet them. 
  • Each MiniSwoosher needs to be wearing a wetsuit (shortie or longer). It’s cold at the start of the season – please make sure it’s a tight fit. 
  • Flotation aids are very welcome – life jackets, buoyancy aids, and other aids are suitable for less experienced open water junior swimmers.

All MiniSwooshers will receive a special MiniSwoosh swim hat and a huge round of applause at the finish line!

Toms Majors


We have worked with a remarkable professional water safety team for over 10 years, who deliver the best water safety and support at all our events. Swimmers are flanked by professionally qualified employed lifeguards throughout the swim. 


We welcome skins and suits swimmers at our events, but Skin Swimmer Passes must be applied for and are not guaranteed. All tickets are sold on the basis that participants will wear full length swimming wetsuits or full length sleeveless wetsuit. 

WETSUITS: Your wetsuit must, at least, cover you from shoulders to below the knee, be made of neoprene and be designed for swimming / triathlon / swim-run (i.e. not scuba diving or surfing). Surf wetsuits do not offer the same mobility or buoyancy balance as swim wetsuits, which leads to physical issues completing longer swims. 

SKIN SWIMMER PASS: Skin Swimmers Passes are awarded on the basis of suitable experience and must be applied for by the 16th May 2021 using this form. Once granted, the pass is valid for all 2021 OSS events. Applications are vetted by the Events Managers and decisions are non-negotiable. If you filled in the skins swimmer application prior to 2020 events we ask that you fill it in again to provide your most up to date experience. 

Swimmers who completed a 2019 event with The Outdoor Swimming Society in skins will automatically be granted a 2021 Skins Swimmer Pass. 

If you are fairly new to skins swimming, but think you’ll want to swim the event in without a wetsuit please fill in the Skins Swimmer Pass application form nearer to the deadline so you can provide the experience you have had to date, rather than what you expect to do.  If you don’t get a pass and don’t want to swim in a wetsuit you can transfer your ticket to a friend. Cut off for ticket transfers for the Sunrise Swoosh is 23rd May 2021, one week after the Skins Swimmer Pass application deadline. 



Most people swim our events using front crawl, but we do have swimmers that do butterfly and breaststroke. Breaststroke is not generally recommended because it’s hard on the knees to swim this distance in a wetsuit. If you are planning to do this swim fly, please let us know – We would love to follow your journey! 


We welcome and can aim to accommodate all swimmers with additional needs who would like to swim as much as we can. It is essential that those with additional needs, or anyone who has concerns about their ability to take part in this event, seek their doctor’s advice before taking part, and please contact us email the event manager prior to buying a ticket or as soon as possible once you have a ticket, to discuss how we can accommodate you. Swimmers with additional needs will be accommodated within the existing water safety provision wherever reasonable adjustments are possible (no separate arrangements can be made), and will need to attend an additional safety briefing prior to the swim.


Events run by The Outdoor Swimming Society are tow-float free. We have ample safety cover who watch swimmers via their brightly coloured hats. Tow floats makes sighting swimmers more difficult by doubling the number of brightly coloured objects in the water, and may entangle other swimmers. It is sometimes stated that tow floats make retrieving an unconscious swimmer easier, however tow floats are not tested or rated to act as a safety device in this way. Snorkels and fins are not permitted as the hard edges risk injuring other swimmers at the swim start in particular.

Most swimmers with personal medication tuck it up the sleeve of their wetsuit – however, if this doesn’t cover your needs and you want to use a tow float for this purpose please contact the event manager.

Graham Wynne


This is an A to B swim, starting at Aveton Gifford and finishing at Bantham Beach. There will be an array of tasty treat to enjoy when you arrive at the finish, including a pasty (and a pint, if you fancy it), which can be purchased via the Sunrise Swoosh ticket page (link at the top of the page) prior to the event. 

In 2021 all Sunrise Swoosh swimmers will register in Aveton Gifford. Those with spectators can drop swimmers off at Aveton Gifford car park (see map below) and swimmers and spectators can take the shuttle between the car park and swim start. Spectators can travel under their own steam to Bantham Beach (car parking charges apply and will be taken by Bantham Estate). If not travelling with spectators, swimmers can park in Aveton Gifford, swim to Bantham, then take a free shuttle bus transfer back to the car park. 

Please do NOT rely on Sat-Nav to reach the event – use the maps provided in your event information pack instead. Don’t rely on the following postcodes: Aveton Gifford parking (for parking at the start of the swim) is near TQ7 4LF. The end of the swim (for those whose spectators are driving to meet them at the finish) is Bantham Beach near TQ7 3AN. 

Vivienne Rickman Poole


Our events are run, on land, by a huge and fantastic army of volunteers. If you or your supporters would like to join the #OSSteam for event day or a day around the event, please read the Bantham Boomerang and Sunrise Swoosh volunteering factsheet.

#OSSteam places for the Sunrise Swoosh can be on a volunteer-only basis, or half price tickets are available for people who would like to volunteer at the Bantham Boomerang on 9th July, the day before the Sunrise Swoosh. Whether you decide to swim or not, #OSSteam members will receive a free T-shirt, free parking during the event, a discount on 2021 Sunrise Swoosh event merchandise, early-bird access to 2022 tickets for all OSS events, and a whole lot of love from The Outdoor Swimming Society Events team and swimmers as they make this swim possible for others.

Toms Majors


We will do everything we can to run the 2021 events. As part of event preparation for 2021 our event team will undertake planning of all aspects of the event to make sure they are Covid-19 secure and can meet changing circumstances.

We will communicate all information to you by email: this year more than any, please save to your address book to ensure you receive and read event communications. An Event Information Pack will be issued to all participants 2 months prior to the event and will include any special measures we are taking.

Please be aware we can only run events if all WHO and UK Government guidelines in place at the time of the event can be met, and the event is supported by local councils and event stakeholders. If the event is unable to run due to a local lockdown or change in national or local circumstances due to Covid-19, we will do our best to provide a suitable alternative to the event (at a different venue or on a different weekend), but this may not be possible. One foreseeable scenario is that we have to restrict spectators to reduce social transmission, increase the ability to physically distance entrants, and to enable effective tracking and tracing. We advise you to check the terms and conditions of associated bookings such as accommodation and travel so you are fully aware of their cancellation policy if changes to the event do happen.

Whatever changes are introduced, we hope to deliver the same feel-good events as ever.



After the statutory 14 day cooling off period, tickets cannot be refunded or deferred. 

If you know you will not be able to attend the event:

We realise that situations change and you might get injured, change jobs, or get invited to your best friend’s wedding. As your entry is NON refundable we suggest you consider taking out insurance to cover any costs you incur if you are not able to attend the event. Please check the conditions of your policy carefully to make sure it provides the cover you require.

You may be able to transfer your ticket to another swimmer. The transfer window is open now and will run until midnight on the 23rd May 2021. If tickets do not sell out, transfers will not be offered.

You will need to find a recipient for your ticket (we recommend advertising you ticket on the Official Sunrise Swoosh event Facebook page) and you will need to arrange for the transfer of payment for the ticket between yourselves. You are responsible for making sure the recipient is aware of all of the terms of the ticket, including any fundraising or volunteer commitments included within the ticket. 

The recipient of the transfer should visit the Sunrise Swoosh ticket page and select a “Sunrise Swoosh 2021 ticket transfer”. After the 23rd May 2021, your ticket is yours to keep and no transfers are possible. 

If the event is cancelled by The Outdoor Swimming Society:

No refunds are given if we have to cancel or curtail the event due to adverse weather, pollution, government orders or other factors outside of our control.

The OSS has a robust attitude to both safety and risk and works with an extremely professional water safety crew to ensure that the event will run if it is safe to do so. In the unlikely event we have to cancel on the event day or immediately before the event due to, for example, storms, lightning, or heavy rain that impedes the view of the safety team then you will not be offered a refund or a deferred entry to the next year’s event. At this point, everything will be in place for the event to take place and most, if not all, event expenses will have been incurred.

The OSS does not hold cancellation insurance to cover this eventuality as insurance of this nature is extremely expensive and would not cover all costs incurred by the event.

Please see our Event Terms and Conditions for more information.

Vivienne Rickman Poole


Swimmers are free to raise money for any charity (or none), and we are delighted to partner with Level Water once again as our primary event partner charity.

Level Water is a young and fast growing charity whose fortunes were changed overnight by involvement in the Dart 10k. The charity provides one-to-one swimming lessons for disabled children across the country, teaching them the basics then help them to join mainstream lessons and competitive clubs.

To help support its work, The Outdoor Swimming Society receives funds from sales of tickets for branded OSS events and merchandise. Every purchase you make supports the running of the society, which is a not-for-profit organisation in it’s self defined role as the UK’s (and the world’s)  best inspirer and informer on the art and sport of swimming. 

Aveton Gifford community outdoor pool is a beneficiary of the swim. It’s an open air pool in the village where the swim starts. It’s attached to the school, and used for primary school swim lessons as well as open for village use. It’s a wonderful facility that now needs to be self-supporting, and we are delighted to be supporting it. There will be charity swim places available for swimmers willing to fundraise for the pool.


A huge thank you for the continued support of our sponsors:


Thank you for the continued support of our supporters: Bantham Estate, Aveton Gifford Parish Council, Michael Tucker, Bantham Harbour Master, for their continued support for the Sunrise Swoosh and Bantham Boomerang events.