The numbing waters of the Atlantic Ocean are the remedy in these stills by filmmaker, photographer, surfer Tao Farren-Hefer. Growing up on Cape Town’s beaches, it was on a sunrise session of his own that he first noticed a group of old women hitting the wild waves with even wilder abandon. He came to realise their icy escapades are a daily ritual; their boogie boards and swimming caps a regular addition to the usual domain of wet-suited surfers and toothy fish. “I just couldn‚Äôt understand how they were leaving the water so ecstatic after what most people would consider torture,” he told us.¬†Wanting to find out more, he joined the group to document their dawn swims over a few weeks for this series of photographs and a short film by the same name, The Sunrise Swimmers.
“I discovered that they were a dynamic group of incredibly positive people who, in their retirement, are now rediscovering their youth and happiness through the sea.
“Incredibly, regardless of the weather, they do not miss a day. They are known to swim in rain, hail and the Cape‚Äôs gale-force South Easter, only skipping a day when their lives are endangered by lightning storms.”
“As someone who loves the ocean myself, I knew I had to share their message when they told me that the reason for this routine even when faced by the obstacles of their fragile bodies, an extremely high shark activity area, and the Cape weather conditions, is their infinite love and longing for the ocean.”