Throughout October 2023, our Dip a Day challenge calls on people to take the cold water plunge and raise funds for Surfers Against Sewage. So far we’ve seen it all, from water-filled whiskey barrels to braving highland lochs, icy showers to river swims. For last year’s challenger Annie Chambers, the key to her chart-topping fundraising lay in wigs, capes and an inflatable crocodile. Here she tells us how she made such a splash…
Bravo for raising £1,340 by dipping every day in October last year. How did you manage it?
“The videos all started when a friend in Australia said my ‘quick run’ to the sea reminded him of Benny Hill. So, I made a video of me dipping to that soundtrack, and amazingly, I got more donations for my dip that day.
Next thing I knew, we were raiding my friend’s fancy dress box. Cue the Willy Wonka hat and glasses – and a trend was born. Phantom of the Opera, Wonder Woman, Time Warp from Rocky Horror, Black Beauty, inflatable crocodiles – in the end, people were waiting for my Facebook story each day, and even strangers started donating.
Sure, I looked questionable on the beach. Fishermen were watching me run along with a riding crop and hat, singing the Black Beauty theme tune. But there’s no way I would have got that amount of money without making my fundraising campaign so silly.
“Fishermen were watching me run along the beach with a riding crop and hat, singing the Black Beauty theme tune.”
What made you get involved with the campaign last year?
We thrive when the ocean thrives, don’t we? I get so much from the sea, but the water companies rob people of this joy. By polluting the ocean, they’re removing our right and freedom to enjoy wild blue spaces. We pay them to take away our waste, and they’re throwing it back at us.
Because I go in the sea every day anyway, when I saw the invitation to join the Dip a Day campaign, I thought, ‘Why not do it to help this issue?’ Little did I know my silly videos would end up being so popular. I even made it onto the news.
What first made you take the ocean plunge?
Like a lot of people, I was trying different things during lockdown in 2020. My best friend started sea swimming, and I thought she was insane. Then I got into Wim Hoff, cold showers, breath work, and the next thing I knew, I was in the sea with her. Before long, I became a complete addict. Now I meet up with a group of people almost every day, ladies of all ages – some in their 60s and 70s. It’s great from a social aspect, I’ve made really good friends for life that I would never have met otherwise. There’s just something really magical about being in the sea. Cold water makes me feel much less anxious, so alive and happy.
“I get so much from the sea, but the water companies rob people of this joy. We pay them to take away our waste, and they’re throwing it back at us.”
So you’ve noticed a change in your well-being since you’ve been getting in the water every day?
Definitely. I’ve had some shoulder problems and I find now that it’s actually better in winter than in the summer. Cold water is such a good anti-inflammatory. I still have a cold shower every morning, but nothing beats a dip in the ocean. Also, having nature around you is so special, we even have a seal that regularly pops up in front of us. We call him Ron Seal, like the paint.
“There’s something really magical about being in the sea. Cold water makes me feel much less anxious, so alive and happy.”
And your word of advice for this year’s Dip a Day-ers?
Make it creative! You definitely get more support if you do more than just go in the sea every day. Post your dips daily, be up-to-date with your challenge and let people know how much they’ve helped you raise. In the end, I raised £1,340. October felt extremely triumphant – November was very boring in comparison!”
Ready to dive in and join 2023’s Dip a Day campaign? To help you brave the waters and spread the word, you’ll receive an exclusive SAS swim cap, welcome letter and challenge tracker to keep tabs on your wellbeing throughout the month.