Subzero weather withers polar plunge participation

Southern Free Beaches naturist club member Paul Campion makes a splash at the club’s annual...
Southern Free Beaches naturist club member Paul Campion makes a splash at the club’s annual winter solstice polar plunge at Warrington Beach on Saturday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Given the mercury dropped to -6degC in Dunedin on Saturday morning, it was not surprising some of the hardiest members of the Southern Free Beaches naturist club chose not to participate in their annual winter solstice polar plunge.

However, about half a dozen members saw it as a challenge and bravely ventured into the frigid surf at Warrington Beach, despite some of the sand being hard and white with frost.

One member, who declined to be named, described just how cold the water was.

"This is the kind of temperature where men start turning into women."

Club member Alistair Lines said that as far as temperatures went, it was one of the coldest polar plunges  he had participated in. The coldest he could recall was a couple of years ago when it was snowing.

As part of the solstice celebration, a bonfire was lit on the beach to help warm up the participants, and once the fire had died down, participants went to the other extreme by fire-walking on the hot embers.

Because it was a day of extremes for those taking part, a Warrington Surf Lifesaving Club crew was on hand to make sure everyone stayed safe.

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