Refreshing. That’s how 10-year-old Keynvor describes his Dip a Day challenge last October. Right back at you, Keynvor. In fact, as one of our youngest, bravest and highest fundraisers, Keynvor’s humour, call-it-out attitude to pollution and blatant love of the ocean has been more than refreshing. It’s hands-down inspiring…
“Some people go a whole lifetime without doing anything like this and I’ve not even got a quarter of a way through mine and I’ve raised over a £1,000 for something so important,” says Keynvor, with a grin. While other kids his age were keeping warm as autumn set in, Keynvor was embracing October’s chill – getting in the water daily to raise money for Surfers Against Sewage.
“On Day 31 of the challenge, seeing what I’d achieved, it was unreal. I was like, ‘I’ve raised so much and got the attention of South West Water too’.” As a sea lover from young age, a question has been brewing on Keynvor’s lips, and one that he’d loved to pose to South West Water’s CEO: “Why should we have to be worrying about whether we should go in the ocean or not? I just don’t understand it.”
“I’ve raised so much and got the attention of Southwest Water too.”
“Exquisite, legendary, incredible: those are words I would use to describe the feeling of swimming in the ocean,” he continues. “Getting in every day for a whole month felt like it built up my immune system and took my mind off other things. And I was actually getting better at swimming too.”
As a keen swimmer, the challenge seemed like a natural fit for Keynvor, which was why his mum suggested he give it a go. Keynvor wasn’t so sure. “I was originally a bit uncertain, because it sounded like a lot,” he explains. “But then I found out it was raising money for SAS and I realised you were proper saving the ocean and I thought if I do this challenge then I will be proper saving the ocean too. I wanted to do that. It kept me motivated, even on the tough days, to know I was doing it for a good cause.”
“Getting in every day for a whole month felt like it built up my immune system and I was actually getting better at swimming too.”
A cause already very close to Keynvor’s heart. When he was seven, he learnt about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it horrified him, making him think about the coastline closer to his home. “Growing up in Cornwall, I have the ocean on my doorstep and I love it, all the interesting marine life that lives there. It’s horrid to imagine that going away, destroyed by pollution. It kind of got me into this thing, thinking about why people are polluting the oceans. I wanted to do something about it. And this felt like a way I could make a difference.”
He really has. During his Dip a Day challenge, there were numerous days when he couldn’t swim, because of sewage pollution, but instead of being deterred, Keynvor used it as an opportunity to take the fight direct to the offender. “Half the time, 90% of the beaches had a red ‘X’ on them, to show they were polluted. And I found it really sad because I knew it was South West Water doing this. I remember on my day nine video [link to video] I talked about how they were polluting the ocean and they replied saying it wasn’t them. They were lying, I know they were. I guess South West Water was embarrassed that a 10-year-old kid was calling them out for what they’re doing. But it’s important to do that as it’s how we can force them to change.”
“On the days I couldn’t get in, when the sea was really polluted and brown, I still kept my videos fun… knowing people were going to watch and support me kept me motivated to do it.”
Luckily, not even South West Water’s dirty dealings could put Keynvor off – instead he found ever-creative and inventive ways to get wet and keep his supporters onboard. “On the days I couldn’t get in, when the sea was really polluted and brown, I found different ways to get in cold water each day to keep my videos fun, like getting soaked with a bucket instead. And knowing people were going to watch and support me kept me motivated to do it.”
So is that why he thinks his Dip a Day challenge was one of the most successful? “Maybe,” he smiles. “I think it helped that everyone else doing it was like an adult and I was the only kid. I hope it inspires other kids to do it this year. You’re working so hard to actually tell them what they’re doing is wrong and they shouldn’t be polluting the ocean. I felt like I was being a really big part of that.”
You were, Keynvor. Thank you.
Inspired by Keynvor to save our seas? Sign up to take part in 2023’s Dip a Day Challenge.
To help you brave the waters and spread the word you’ll receive an SAS swim cap and challenge tracker to keep tabs on your wellbeing through the month.
Keyvnor’s total enthusiasm, dedication, and humour had his audience gripped from Dip a Day One – he even managed a dip with a pumpkin on his head for his final Halloween swim.