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The Four Elements Ocean Challenge is ON!

The Four Elements Ocean Challenge is ON!

Next weekend (Saturday 3 May 2014) will see the hosting of the inaugural Four Elements Ocean Challenge, where a small field of intrepid athletes will swim 7km along Durban’s iconic beachfront between Blue Lagoon and the northern Harbour Wall. The event is being held by the non-profit company Four Elements Conservation in honour of World Oceans Day (8 June 2014), and is aimed at raising awareness and funds for the preservation of the ocean environment.

The gruelling ocean swim, where all participants have been hand-selected to include Olympic, English Channel, and other world–ranked distance swimmers, is to be the focal point of a five minute film that will be released as part of the official celebrations of the UN-designated World Oceans Day celebrations on 8 June 2014.


Four Elements Conservation NPC is the brainchild of young Durban Girls College pupil Olivia Taylor (17), whose passion for our natural environment moved her to form the organisation in 2012. “Our objective is to support, communicate and promote environmental activities, including the protection and preservation of endangered, threatened or suffering creatures” said Taylor. “Humanity is threatened by mass indifference, and we want to have a positive effect on our environment by mobilising people and inspiring them to uphold our principle of ‘Dive Deeper, Aim Higher, Fly Further”.


Otto Thaning, a well known South African distance swimmer who has swum the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar, said that “Four Elements NPC and the Ocean Challenge is a remarkable conservation concept. A concept that is often promoted at school and university graduation ceremonies extols and encourages efforts to leave a better world for our children. I have always thought that what we should be aiming for is leaving better children to look after our world, and Four Elements is the epitome of such a philosophy”.


Carina Bruwer-Pugliese, who amongst her many achievements has swum the English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar, and also holds the records for the fastest female crossing of Cape Point as well as the fastest circumnavigation of Robben Island. “What an honour to have been invited to take part in the Four Elements Ocean Challenge! It’s always exciting to be part of a “swimming first”, and to meet new likeminded swimmers. But most of all, I’m delighted to be doing my bit for ocean conservation by doing what I love! The ocean has given me life, and I hope that in some small way, I can return the favour through supporting Olivia’s amazing project” said Bruwer-Pugliese.


Another pedigreed participant is Roger Finch, the 66th person and only South African in the world, to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming. Finch commented that “The planet earth is covered by 71% oceans containing 97% of the planet’s water, and as such we need to protect and preserve this fragile ecosystem and its inhabitants.”


Speaking about the organisation, Taylor said “The name ‘Four Elements’ is inspired by Aristotle’s original theory of the elements: water, earth, air and fire. For each element, a symbolic animal has been chosen, with the dire plight of sharks, rhino’s and bearded vultures represented by water, earth and air. Arguably the most important of the elements is ‘fire’, which calls on those of us with a burning passion to stand up for what you believe in and let your voice be heard. As such, we endeavour to provide a platform and advice for other like-minded people (especially young people), so that they too can have the courage to light their own fires” explains Taylor.


The event is sponsored by Grindrod, FMI, Stegman Golf and Nando’s. Four Elements NPC is a registered non-profit company. All funds raised by Four Elements Conservation will be directly channelled into the selected local marine environmental activities. For more information, visit


Olivia Taylor, CEO of Four Elements and Organiser of the Four Elements Ocean Challenge


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