Swimmers brave chilly waters

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 05:30 22/06/2013
DAILY NEWS ONLINE

The weather was perfect for the New Plymouth mid winter swim

Midwinter Swim
Cameron Burnell Zoom
The mid winter Swim at Ngamotu Beach

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The air temperature was 5 degrees Celsius, the water temperature was 10C, and the wind-chill factor was freezing.

But still, about 230 people turned up in true Taranaki hardcore spirit for what was the largest Classic Hits Mid Winter Swim in at least 15 years.

Classic Hits' Jordan McFadyen felt the big turnout may have been due to the fact that tickets to tonight's All Blacks test against France in New Plymouth were up for grabs, but said it was always a fun event - tickets or not.

Hopping in the brisk sea, however, was a different story. "That's never fun, you always get sore joints when you come out."

While many turned out in their traditional bathing suits, gorillas, sharks, aliens and Batman also participated.

The Taranaki Daily News spotted New Plymouth's Malachy Boyes, 29, jumping around trying to keep warm minutes before taking the plunge.

Mr Boyes entered the swim to honour his mate Michael Taylor, who died in a car crash on Monday.

"You have to take the opportunity to do these things, you know."

Most people were straight in and straight out, while the braver swimmers frolicked in the Ngamotu Beach waters for a few more minutes.

John Lykles, 54, said the temperature wasn't too bad, then again, he'd been swimming in the sea without a wetsuit up until a week or two ago. "I've got a bit of blubber to keep me warm," he said.

Enjoying a hot cup of soup back inside the New Plymouth Yacht Club was a group from Nexans Olex.

Logistics manager Willy Harvey said the company had two guests from China and France whom they had just signed a substantial supply deal with.

"So we celebrated with a dip," Simon Perks added.

Hailing from the French Alps near Grenoble, Benoit Binet had been the last in and first out of the group.

The Frenchman said although tonight's rugby match was a nice coincidence, the mid-winter swim had been at the top of his to-do list.

"We came all this way just for the swimming, because we heard it was so famous. But the water is a little bit warm to be honest." His sarcasm was noted.

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