If I am in Brighton on Christmas day I will always try to document the Brighton Christmas day swim. Brighton beach was meant to be closed to swimmers on Christmas day 2014 and the Christmas Brighton day swim canceled. In 2012 and 2011 the council / sea front office took the decision to close the beach because of bad weather to prevent people from swimming, no one tried enter the water in those years. In 2014 the decision was taken to close the beach two weeks before Christmas day. It turned out that Christmas 2014 was sunny and the sea was flat so a small group of people went swimming despite the beach closure.
I’ve been shooting Christmas day swims since 2005. You can see a selection of images for previous swims in my portfolio here.
I was taking out the recycling / wrapping paper at 10:30 on Christmas morning (the swim is at 11am) and the weather was beautiful. I walked to the end of the road to check out the sea and it looked pretty flat. I decided to go to the beach with a camera just in case as I’d be really annoyed if I missed a photo opportunity.
Albion beach which is about 150 meters wide was closed off but a group of about 150 people were forming just West of Albion beach, some years there have been over 1000 spectating. There were about 10 people preparing to swim. I decided not to join them, as a member of Brighton Swimming club I could not been seen encouraging or condoning swimming in cold water when you are not used to it.
I shot the first group and went in up to my knees in my cloths. There was a second group of four Santas preparing to go in. I decided to join them as they said they had been doing the Christmas swim since 2008 so clearly nothing was stopping them.
The Local council and sea front office really has to think about the swim next year because if the weather is fine there is no point stopping it. In the last two years when the weather has been bad and the beaches closed people have taken the councils advice but when the sun is beating down and the sea flat that is clearly not going to happen. The idea has been floated of moving it to Boxing day so it can be timed with low tide which would make it much safer. Also moving it west ward would be good idea as the beach does not drop of so quickly.
Brrrr! Wish l’d thought of coming along! Tim x
It’s a shame they said it was too dangerous to go in on one of the safest and warmest Christmas Day swim in years. It’s like crying wolf, and means that when it really is too dangerous to go in, no one will take any notice of warnings in future. I do agree the public swim needs to be disassociated from the Swimming Club though, so that if anyone does become fish fodder the Club will not be liable to litigation and sued. I guess the council too has to make it clear it’s nothing to do with them, so they don’t get sued either. Unfortunately a lot of people want to find someone to blame and get money out of if something goes wrong. Neptune and Poseidon also, apparently, wipe their hands of responsibility for anyone wanting to play when the sea clearly is not in the mood.
Very well said. “It’s a shame they said it was too dangerous to go in on one of the safest and warmest Christmas Day swim in years. It’s like crying wolf, and means that when it really is too dangerous to go in, no one will take any notice of warnings in future“.
Yeah, shame we thought it wouldn’t go ahead. A bit of a tradition coming down to gawp at the silliness. And after all that the sun shone.