Pain in Paradise: The Ironmana KXT Liquid Festival Is Back!

2015 Bora Bora Ironmana KXT Liquid Festival Starts Tomorrow

Who: World’s elite ocean and endurance athletes

What: Five days of the gnarliest endurance competition on water, and a vibrant celebration of Tahitian culture

When: Tomorrow, December 1, through Saturday, December 5, 2015

Where: Bora Bora (Tahitian paradise)

Why: Because, apparently, some people just love pain.

The Bora Bora Ironmana KXT Liquid Festival is an occasion for master watermen and masochists alike, offering five days of tortuously challenging competition for ocean athletes every December. The event draws hundreds of world-class athletes from across the globe, the lot of whom are currently gathered on Bora Bora awaiting the inevitable discomfort of the 15th annual Ironmana, which kicks off tomorrow bright and early.

The Ironmana began in 2000 as a va’a hoe (a traditional rudder-less Tahitian Canoe) race and has since evolved to include competition in SUP, distance swimming and prone paddleboarding, in capacities most humans wouldn’t dream of attempting. The individual events are announced spontaneously throughout the week of pain in paradise with Ironmana’s chief organizer, Stephan Lambert, calling the shots and leading attendees from one excruciating challenge to the next. After participating in last year’s Ironmana, SUP the mag editor Will Taylor likened the endurance event to a triathlon, “except that it lasts four days and you don’t know when and how long you’ll be doing any of those disciplines.” Sound appealing?

Beyond the torment of actual competition, the Ironmana is a celebration of the ocean and all it gives us. The agenda calls for food, drink, party and dance, steeped in traditional Tahitian culture and adorned with island hospitality. Family and friends are invited and encouraged to participate in the open events (more fun, less torture). To learn more, take a look at our feature from last years event, and visit the Bora Bora Liquid Festival website to set yourself up for next year. Just keep in mind Lambert’s warning, “Expect nothing, be ready for anything.”

Get on the water at the Bora Bora Ironmana KXT Liquid Festival.

An account from last year’s Ironmana.

cover photo by Tim Mckenna