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VIDEO: Ice bears at Ostend: “Madness doesn’t hurt!”

Hundreds of people braved the cold waters of the North Sea at a windy Ostend on Saturday for the traditional New Year’s Dip.  For many regulars this didn’t pose much of a challenge: the water near the beach had a temperature of 10°C.  This is more or less the same as air temperature on the Flemish Riviera.

Regulars, including people who claim to do this three times a week all year round, were joined by newbies for whom it was the first New Year’s Dip.  Many had even failed to put in any training!

They were met by a 6 Beaufort south-westerly that required restrictions. Chief life guard Levi Meyer told VRT that bathers were only allowed into the sea knee-deep due to the treacherous south-westerly. A line of divers prevented bathers from going too far. After a good warm-up the bathers headed for the water.  “Madness doesn’t hurt” one of the ice bears told VRT’s reporter.

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