Cold-water dipper Sam Dodge tells us about his new community hub Go Dipping, where swimmers can meet and encourage each other to get out of their comfort zones and do something that makes them feel great
My name is Sam Dodge, I’m a very blessed father of four living in South Wales and working in the construction industry.
I got into triathlon in 2017 and completed Ironman Wales in 2019, which sparked my love for open water swimming. I was busy during lockdown and added two more children to my collection! I did Ironman Wales again in 2022 but was finding it difficult to juggle training, family life and work as a builder so decided to take a break from triathlon.
That’s when cold water dipping became my new love.
My first real taste of cold water swimming was in November 2021. I was immediately hooked and that’s when the 5am Club started. Myself and a good friend (Sean O’Connor) made a pact to go for a weekly dip at our local beach (Porthcawl) every Friday. I would pick him up at 04:45 and we would do four rounds of Wim Hoff breathing exercises before entering the water armed only with head torches and budgie smugglers!
The buzz was amazing and we wanted to share it with others but found it hard to recruit at first – often being called crazy! But the 5am Club is still going strong and we are delighted to have found 33 other crazy people to join us.
I can’t explain the buzz I get after a cold dip, it makes me feel like I can handle whatever my day has to throw at me. My energy levels and mood are heightened, and I’m left plotting my next cold water venture.
Soon enough, one dip a week wasn’t cutting it so I converted a large chest freezer into an ice bath, conveniently placed undercover in my garden… game changer! Being able to get my cold water fix anytime at home has been my saviour – although the neighbours think I am mad!
After feeling the benefits from cold water swimming, I wanted to share it with everyone. That’s when Go Dipping started. My vision was to create a hub where people could meet and encourage each other to get out of their comfort zones and do something that makes you feel great.
I felt that there was a gap in the market for a brand dedicated to cold water swimming so I had a few designs drawn up and printed some hoodies and t shirts. I work full-time as a builder so I had a few weeks of late nights trying to work out how to build a website and then put together a range of cosy clothing to keep you warm pre and post dip.
I love the thought of being able to make a living out of something you are truly passionate about and want to share with others. I created an Instagram and Facebook account and love sharing our dipping adventures and seeing other people’s.