Waders embrace the chill during winter solstice
A BRAVE and adventurous cohort of morning ocean waders have celebrated the winter solstice in true community fashion.
More than 30 Surf Coast residents, mainly Torquay-based, embraced the longest night of the year on Tuesday morning this week, getting waist-deep in very cold water at Fisherman’s Beach at the crack of dawn.
Wednesday Ocean Waders organiser Joanna Halley said it was a great turnout on Tuesday morning.
“Weather-wise, the past couple of weeks have been quite tough because it has gotten cold very quickly,” Ms Halley said.
“As a group, we used the solstice as a chance to really drive the message home that members could look forward to more daylight in the mornings and warmer weather.
“It was just an extremely positive start to the day, and it was great to have some new people joining us.”
The morning involved group singing, a conch being sounded and plenty of laughter being shared, as the beach was well-lit with lanterns and bamboo torches, creating a charming and scene with the sun rising in the background.
Ms Halley’s group started just over a year ago, after she attended a Wim Hof ice bath seminar and became a fan of cold-water therapy.
The group’s first wade in 2021 saw a few hardy souls turn up, but since then the group has grown to boast more than 400 followers on social media and has expanded the wades to six days a week.
Ms Halley originally wanted to not only find other adventurous people willing to embrace the ocean but also to build a community group to rectify some of the social isolation induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have built this really close-knit community over the past year and we’re all so different,” Ms Halley said.
“I don’t think I have been a part of any other group in my life where I have had so many people together harmoniously.
“Everyone is supportive, kind, and on the same page, it’s just a really special group of people and anyone is always welcome to come along and join us.
“Come down and get in the water!”
The group has expanded beyond just swimming and wading and often gathers for meals and fundraising events.
Fundraisers have put funds towards a variety of charities focusing on homelessness, wildlife rescue and cancer.
More information can be found on the group’s Wednesday Ocean Waders Facebook page.