HOW WE STARTED
On August 24, 2010, at 4:00 AM, surrounded by a community of supporters, Bruckner Chase embarked on a 25-mile marathon swim to connect Santa Cruz to Monterey while also connecting those on land with the waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Those twenty-five miles developed into an epic fourteen-hour journey during which Bruckner encountered everything from massive jellyfish to blue whales, fog and white-capped swells, the moonset over the sea and the sunrise over the mountains. The swim was a test of physical and emotional fortitude and became a means to forge an emotional tie between the communities surrounding the Sanctuary and the fascinating adventures taking place just beyond the shore.
Bruckner’s ocean endurance events are also about discovering what we can all do beyond our perceived limitations. Supported by his wife Michelle, family and a growing community of friends every swim becomes a testament to what we can all accomplish when we replace fear and uncertainty with trust and focus. Whether training in the ocean off New Jersey or crossing a channel in the South Pacific, each event is about encouraging others to discover what they love and let the pursuit of that passion enrich both their lives and the lives of those around them.
Bruckner has partnered with National Marine Sanctuaries to call the public’s attention to these special places. But it’s a vast ocean out there, and in an effort to broaden his reach, Bruckner formed Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive, Inc, a non-profit corporation focused on expanding Bruckner’s mission to positively impact how we feel, think and act towards our oceans. Ocean Positive, Inc. utilizes extreme ocean endurance adventures and unique aquatic initiatives to allow us all to discover and embrace a personal connection to our oceans. (501c3)
In the spring of 2011 Bruckner was a named a member of the technical advisory team to Special Olympics International for the inaugural 1,500-meter open water swim at the Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece. He is now a special advisor assisting with the global program and coaching development of open water swimming within the Special Olympics sports program.
In May of 2011 Bruckner completed an historic first crossing from Aunu’u Island to Pago Pago Harbor in American Samoa, and as a result of that experience he has formed a long-term relationship with the people of American Samoa. Now an honorary chief, Uila o le Sami, Bruckner, at the Governor’s request, has developed the Bruckner Chase Toa o le Tai youth ocean heroes program to improve the ocean swimming proficiency and conservation awareness of the Territory’s youth. In December the American Samoa Department of Education partnered with Bruckner to also create a class at Samoana High School, Ocean Swimming/Ocean Sciences, based on the design of the Toa o le Tai program.
Bruckner and his wife ended 2011 being awarded a Community Services Block Grant from the American Samoa Department of Commerce to create the Bruckner Chase Toa o le Tai Youth Ocean Heroes program, and in December they received one of the prestigious National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Hollings Grants for a 2012 project, 2 Samoas/1 Ocean which will include swims in both Samoas and the production of a documentary film highlighting the unique historical and cultural connection that American Samoa and Western Samoa share with our oceans.
When not in Ocean City, NJ Bruckner can be found beyond the shore or immersed in a new community to both learn and share stories of our connections to the oceans we all share.
To positively impact how we feel, think and act towards our oceans
HOW WE DO IT