Fastest swim crossing of False Bay (male)
Barend Nortje
7:28:15 hour(s):minute(s):second(s)
South Africa (Rooi Els)

The fastest swim crossing of False Bay (male) in South Africa is 7 hours 28 minutes 15 seconds, achieved by Barend Nortje (South Africa) on 20 February 2024. The swim was west to east from Miller's Point to Rooi Els and was piloted by Derrick Frazer. It has been ratified by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association and the False Bay Swimming Association.

This surpassed the time of Kyle Stephens (South Africa, b. 17 March 2005), who traversed False Bay in 8 hours 8 minutes 15 seconds on 1 March 2022. Aged 16 years 349 days, Kyle remains the youngest person to have completed the route to date.

Barend reclaimed a record that he had first set on 5 March 2007, with a time of 9 hours 17 minutes. Barend was also part of the fastest relay team to swim across False Bay, logging a time of 7 hours 29 minutes on 26 March 2021, along with team-mates Anthony Pearse, Mark Chamberlin and Brad Gale (all South Africa).

False Bay is the largest bay at the southern tip of Africa, situated between False Cape Point (aka Hangklip) and Cape Point. The distance is approximately 34 km (21.1 mi) as the crow flies, but as with any long-distance ocean swim, the final route is greatly affected by currents, wind, swell and waves on the day. Water temperature in the bay varies from 20°C (68°F) in the summer to 10°C (50°F) in the winter. The bay is home to a variety of wildlife, including seals, dolphins, whales and most infamously great white sharks, although the latter tend to be found nearer the shore, meaning swimmers and their support teams need to be extra-vigilant at the start and end of the crossing.

The first person to successfully swim across False Bay was Annemie Landmeters (Belgium), who completed a one-way crossing in 9 hours 56 minutes on 30 January 1989, swimming east to west from Rooi Els to Miller’s Point. Three local swimmers (Derek Yach, Godfrey Mocke and Kevin Fialkov) attempted the traverse in 1986 but didn’t complete it. The first man to complete the journey was Steven Klugman (South Africa), also from Rooi Els to Miller’s Point, with a time of 14 hours 18 minutes on 15 February 2004.