SURF CITY — Nothing could stop Pat Trout from getting into the Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day for the annual Surf City Dolphin Dip.
“If I can hobble, we will be going in together,” the 81-year-old North Topsail Beach resident said.
Trout and her daughter, Myrrah Trout, entered the frigid ocean waters for the eighth or ninth time — they can’t remember which — with a few hundred strangers on Wednesday.
Both donned bright patterned swimsuits and pants as they waded in up to their waists as part of the 12th annual event.
Pat Trout was able to leave her walking cane on the beach as she walked in supported on both arms.
Myrrah Trout was prepared for the cold water and said Wednesday’s temperatures felt the lowest they’ve been since they first dipped so many years ago.
Brian Moxey, one of the event’s founders, said he was happy with the large turnout for the dip.
The crowd was a solid mix of swimmers and spectators. It was clear to tell who was who as spectators were sensibly wrapped up in jackets and scarves.
While a lot of people run into the cold water in swimsuits, a lot also wear costumes they enter in the costume contest.
Yes, that means several little boys dressed as the men from the popular television series “Duck Dynasty” bolted to the water after the final 10-second countdown completed.
Moxey, who emceed the event, was decked out in a dark purple tuxedo. It was a classy ensemble as his voice boomed out from the speakers and a cold, wet one when he emerged from the ocean.
He said the event has become such a beloved community activity that it has grown into something he thinks will last for years to come.
Even if it stopped being an organized ocean swim.
“I think without it people would show up spontaneously right now,” he said.
While the first swim of the year may be a tradition for some, for others it was a new experience.
Jodi Wright, a sailor from Jacksonville, said she attended Wednesday’s event after being dared to do it.
“I was nervous at first, but I’m glad I did it,” Wright said.
Wright and the three people she plunged in with all fully submerged in the water before they ran out.
“It was kind of like a baptism,” she said.