Port Phillip’s polar plunge

Many will take the exhilarating plunge into Port Phillip Bay as part of the Carrum Winter Swim to mark the winter solstice later this month. 

Some will attend for their first time, but others have become life members after 10 years of continuing the tradition that started 18 years ago. By 2010, founding member Pete Ridgway was being joined by 30 others, but in recent years the event has attracted 80 participants.

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“I’ve deliberately let it grow organically and it’s really taken off and united the Carrum community,” said Mr Ridgway. “It’s really fun, and different individuals do it for different reasons.”

The short waist-deep course is supervised by the Carrum Surf Life Saving Club and all participants receive a certificate upon completion. The rules are simple: your head must go under and no wetsuits are permitted.

Proving resilience and displaying courage in the depths of winter is how Mr Ridgway describes participants. “You are getting over the winter blues and a psychological hurdle as we get closer to those long summer days,” he says.

Keen participants will return to the club’s bar for hot and cold beverages. Club president Ben Rooks said: “The Carrum Surf Life Saving Club is proud to be able to assist by providing a special patrol for the afternoon to keep everyone safe in the water, as well as providing a venue for everyone to warm up afterwards. The best part of this event is the gathering of people from all different parts of the Carrum and Patterson Lakes community.”

Carrum Surf Life Saving Club will host the Carrum Winter Swim on Friday, June 22, at 5pm. 

CAMERON HOWE (camhowe.com)