We've been chatting with Gumbies Ambassador Chris, founder of 365 Sea Swim and avid Gumbies wearer!
Hi Chris, thank you for taking time to talk to us. Where are you today and have you been for a swim already? Hi, I’m in my hometown of Brixham Devon, I went for an unintentional wild swim this morning with my dog Leo! St Mary’s Bay was simply too irresistible. I had no kit but was fortunate to find a pair of abandoned shorts on the beach, size XS but I squeezed into them ;) Gumbies Flip Flops or Slippers today? I always wear flip flops, either my Islanders or Duckbills. I’m thinking maybe Gumbies slippers in the colder months!
Tell us a bit about 365 Sea Swim and how you came up with the idea? The 365 Sea Swim Challenge came about when my good friend Rob Hunt and I decided to go for a swim off the rocks at our local sea pool Shoalstone. It was a stunning July day, and we continued this daily routine throughout the summer. As we got towards October time, we had not missed a day and we saw an opportunity to make this ritual a fundraising campaign.
You have inspired so many people to take up wild swimming and at the same time raised a tonne of money for local charities, pretty awesome! How many members are you up to?
We currently have around 50 members and that number is growing, with people from Devon to Nairn in Scotland. We even have two swimmers in the USA!
How did you decide on your chosen charities? We look for charities that benefit the community, conservation & the environment. You're currently taking on the 'October Challenge', how's it going & what's the take up been like? Yes, Wild Swim October has been well supported as with our previous events, Sea Swim September & Winter Warrior. People can join, simply RSVP the event on our website. Here they can find pages to our other challenges.
Do you have to be a strong swimmer? You don’t have to be a strong swimmer, I wasn’t when I started, there is no distance or time involved, it is simply about immersing oneself in the sea or wild swim location. We want everyone to make the experience their own. 365 Sea Swim must be really rewarding on many levels improving fitness, wellbeing, community involvement and raising money for well-deserved charities. What would you say to someone thinking about getting involved? The 365 is a community lead group, not of athletes or elite swimmers but normal people like you and I. We believe anyone can achieve great things and conquer their fears as I have, through sea and wild swimming.
The 365 Sea Swim Challenge C.I.C is committed to raise funds for charities through their sea & wild swim challenges. Each member makes their own unique adventure & fundraising opportunity. They offer support to the swimmers and supporters as they understand the benefits of community & cold-water swimming to mental & physical health. They're involved in several conservation and environmental projects, including the Crab line recycling scheme in Brixham & Project Seagrass, as well as being an associate partner of the English Riviera Global GeoPark.
Their intentions are to create awareness for these campaigns, look for new ideas and future initiatives, and create opportunities for volunteers and community involvement.