On a sunny Sunday morning in Sydney's Bondi Beach, a group of brave swimmers made a bold attempt to break the world record for the most people swimming naked at one time.
The group, dubbed the ‘Bare Bears', set out to break the record of 541 people, which was set in Spain in 2012. However, despite their enthusiasm, the group of around 500 swimmers fell short of their goal, with official numbers estimating that only 470 people participated in the event.
The event, which was organised by the group's leader, Alex Richardson, had been hyped up on social media for weeks in the lead up. Despite the disappointment of falling short of their goal, Richardson was still upbeat about the day, saying that he was glad to see so many people come out and support the cause.
“We wanted to make a statement about body-positivity, confidence and self-love,” he said. “It was great to see so many people who were willing to take part in such a bold event.”
The event, which was open to both men and women, was also aimed at raising awareness about the importance of mental health. Richardson said that he was inspired to organise the event after witnessing the struggles his friends had faced with mental illness.
“I wanted to show them that there is strength in numbers, and that if we all come together, we can make a difference,” he said.
Despite the fact that the group did not break the world record, the event was still a roaring success. The swimmers enjoyed a dip in the ocean and a sense of camaraderie that comes with being part of a group of people who are all striving towards the same goal.
For those who were brave enough to take part, the experience of swimming naked in public was a liberating one. For some, it was a chance to express their confidence in their own bodies and to take a stand against body-shaming.
“It was so empowering and liberating to be surrounded by so many other people who were comfortable in their own skin,” said one participant. “It was a truly unique experience.”
The Bare Bears may not have broken the world record, but they certainly made a statement. For those who took part, it was a liberating experience that will stay with them for a long time.