’Round Town


Wed, 11/30/2022 - 7:15am

Those items in the water are not errant pot buoys, floating logs, ducks, seals, or water buffalo! They are people.

This is not a hoax! These are real people in real cold ocean water. Really!

The air temperature is mid 40F and the water temperature is in the vicinity of 50F. There are about 20 “dippers” from the age of 15 to 65 and their numbers are growing. My numbers are hovering around 70F with the car heater running full blast and a cup of joe.

This is pretty interesting stuff. Some of the group have been immersing themselves in cold water for years. Some have just started to try it out. The bravest of the brave actually cut holes in the winter ice for their dip! I prefer to add ice to my ginger ale.

But, upon further investigation, I am learning that this practice is getting some serious attention and not just here at Hendricks Head beach on Southport. In parts of the world, most notably Scandinavia, immersion in cold water is regularly practiced.

A fellow named Wim Hof, aka “The Iceman,” has become a spokesperson and leading advocate for what I call cold therapy. Mr. Hof holds world records for the longest time in ice water (almost two hours). He has climbed Mr. Everest in shorts and run a marathon in a desert without water. His accomplishments have been scrutinized by professionals both medical and scientific. He holds many records for his ability to tolerate extreme cold.

Cold has generally been shown to help with inflammation. Inflammation, as we have come to learn, can be damaging. Many medicines have been developed to help rid our bodies of inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, heart issues, circulation, some immune system conditions exhibit inflammatory characteristics. Interestingly, exposure to cold has been shown to have a positive effect on general well-being and health.

I’m not an advocate, just an observer. But, many in the group seen above, bobbing in the ocean water at Hendricks Head, return for a daily dip. Surprising to me, I don’t hear complaints but very positive comments about what has been described as a feeling of exhilaration and clarity. Not sure I’m ready to give it a try.

The group of dippers has grown. If you wish to undertake this adventure you can email hendrickslittledippers@gmail.com. If interested, more information about the Wim Hof method can be found online.