The King's Swim - Kailua Pier

Kona Swimming

One of the best things about living in Kailua-Kona is its convenient access to a variety of swimming options. The most popular Kona swimming spots can be found at the Kona Community Aquatic Center and at Kailua Bay.


Made famous by the IRONMAN™ World Championships, ocean swimming in Kona from the Kailua Pier is truly magnificent. What you see on television – the jaw-dropping scene of thousands of triathletes swimming on top of one another, often referred to as a “human washing machine”, happens right here in Kailua Bay. On most other days, you will find things far more civilized, typically consisting of a couple dozen swimmers gathering at the pier throughout the morning to swim with friends or to tag along with others. *It should go without saying, but as a reminder, NEVER swim in the ocean alone!


Additionally, just up the road from the pier is the Kona public pool, known as the Kona Community Aquatic Center, a nice outdoor facility for lap swimming and where the Kona swim clubs practice (both youth and master’s programs). This is where you can more safely hone your skills, meet fellow Kona swimmers, and gain the confidence and experience necessary before venturing into the ocean.

Kona Ocean Swimming

Kailua Pier

For experienced swimmers, Kailua Pier is the best spot for ocean swimming in Kona, and is a good place to potentially join others to swim with, commonly known as the “Pier Group”. 


~ 8:00 AM tends to be a popular time with the most swimmers at the Pier.


This information is published as an aid to swimmers and other users. Penn Henderson in no way warrants the safety or suitability of the swimming options indicated on this site. Users assume the risk for their own safety at all times when swimming in these areas. There are NO Lifeguards at the Kailua Pier!


Never swim alone. Your personal definition of ‘beginner’ or ‘intermediate’ may vary from others’ interpretation of these skill levels. Be aware of your own abilities and seek out professional swim instruction as warranted.


Although reasonable effort to ensure that the information contained in this site is correct as of the date of publication, the actual conditions swimmers encounter may vary, and Penn Henderson in no way warrants its accuracy.


Penn Henderson assumes no liability for personal injuries or property damage suffered by users.

Kona Swimming Pool

Kona Aquatic Center

The best place for lap swimming in Kona where you will find Kona swim clubs, master’s swimming, and various opportunities for swimming lessons. 

Other water activities are available as well such as water aerobics. The pool is free for everyone. *Pool hours often fluctuate.

Back in 2007, I had a goal to do my first triathlon, Lavaman. But, I was not a swimmer and could barely make it one length of the pool. So, I signed up for the Kona Master's swimming program, practicing 3x per week. A couple of months later I started doing some short Kona ocean swims as well (with others).

Feeling good, I then tried a couple of Team Mango and Peaman swimming events, which was scary, but I survived! Lavaman followed a month later - safely and successfully.

I was hooked, and have since enjoyed many years of swimming and triathlon, including a few Kona IRONMAN™ World Championships and countless other memorable races.

Swimming has shown me a special part of Hawaii that would have otherwise remained invisible. The experiences, the places, and the friends I have made along the way have helped define my love and appreciation for this amazing place I call home, Hawaii.

- Penn
Hawaii Ironman 70.3 - Big Island

Kona Ocean Swim Events

King's Swim

Kona Ocean Swim Events - The King's Swim - Big Island of Hawaii

Starting from Kailua Pier, this popular Kona ocean swim goes along the Kona IRONMAN™ swim course before turning at the ½ way point – known to locals as the King’s Buoy. You will typically enjoy excellent visibility along the way with views of the ocean floor and reef. Founded in 1995 by legendary Hawaii Waterman Hall of Famer, Steve Borowski, it is considered one of the most prestigious swim events in Hawaii, attracting a host of fast swimmers.

Kukio Blue Water Swim

Big Island Swim Event - Big Island, Hawaii

Kukio, an exclusive luxury residential community situated along the Kona-Kohala Coast hosts the annual Kukio Blue Water Swim. The 1.2-mile swim takes swimmers on an open water adventure starting from the beautiful sandy beach of Kua Bay to Uleweuweu Bay at Kukio. Dolphins, pristine waters, and beautiful blue skies add to this unique Hawaii experience which has become a marquee Kona swimming event for residents and visitors alike.   

Peaman Biathlon Events

Big Island Biathlons - Peaman Biathlon Events

Peaman Biathlon events have been a Kailua-Kona fixture for over three decades offering free, fun, family-oriented swims in Kailua Bay followed up with a short run on Alii Drive. Events are geared for all ages and fitness levels, with participants ranging from beginners to professional athletes including various divisions to choose from in addition to specific options just for swimming.

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