When I was a little kid one of my favourite TV shows to watch was Record Breakers, where every week Roy Castle and Cheryl Baker, and later Kriss Akabusi, would do features on different world records and also try and break them.
The Guinness World Records book is awesome, you give that to any kid with some intelligence and you’ve got a happy kid. There’s crazy little facts, oddities and freaky pictures and also inspiration.
I’m 27, and I still really want to set a WR in something. Its not going to be the 100m, but I’m sure I could have a crack at getting into the book, I think it might be one of the things on my bucket list. Although you’d have to time your attempt right to get in, it’d suck to be the record holder for months and then get beaten by some Johnny-come-lately who beats it just in time to make the final edit. I mean, I think you get a certificate of being a record holder, but I think the real bragging rights would come from being in the book.
This week there was an attempt to set a new record for most simultaneous skinny dippers at once, down in New Zealand.
Despite 525 people showing up, they failed to set a new record as they did it from two different beaches, meaning they actually had 299 and 226 at each skinny dip, and the rules state that all the swimmers need to be in the water at the same time for the group photo.
This is a rather obvious mistake in the planning so it looks like to break this particular record you need dedication, planning, a camera and at least 414 brave souls who are willing to strip off and run into the sea. It might be summertime down in the Southern Hemisphere but looking at the pictures it doesn’t look like it was that warm a day (and no that’s not a “shrinkage” or nipple reference).
It’s the kind of story that prompts a mixed reaction- a combination of sympathy, schadenfreude and respect in this writer.
I kind of felt bad for all those folks who turned up, stripped off and dashed in for a dip only to discover that they weren’t getting themselves into the big book. At the same time this fact was a little amusing.
Although, I should point out that as well as a record attempt it was also following a recent court decision which overturned a nudist runner’s conviction for offensive behaviour which many see as a victory for the right to be naked in public for innocent reasons. I kinda get where they’re coming from because the way our society regards nudity and the human body is a little messed up and I think causes unnecessary discomfort and insecurities, breeding some body image issues (more on that to come).
The respect aspect comes from these people having the guts and self confidence to do this.
I mean, sure you could say that when you’re surrounded by over 200 other people dressed in their birthday suits and in the water for most of it the chances are nobody’s really that bothered about checking you out, but at the same time, for this insecure cat its a no-no.
I may have lost weight and gained more self esteem and confidence, but I anticipate it’ll be a damned long time before I’m anywhere near being able to skinny dip. I’m still not comfortable taking off my shirt in front of others, due to the mannaries and below the waist I’ve got other insecurities to deal with.
When I was in Sri Lanka I did go topless, due to the heat, but I felt painfully embarrassed whenever I did and kept it to a minimum and mainly when I was on my own. Strutting down the beach like the Southern Comfort dude is not something I can ever see myself doing.
In 2013 I hope to hit my target weight and keep moving toward getting in better shape, and as that happens I might become more confident and comfortable with my body, I’d love to get to the stage where I had the courage to take part in the annual Midsummer Skinny Dip down in Llangennith, which incidentally is where the current world record was set. Nice one, naked Welshies!
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.