Hardy bathers brave freezing River Derwent during Dark MOFO Festival.

An estimated 350 people stripped off earlier and swam nude in Hobart’s icy River Derwent as part of the Dark MOFO winter festival.

The water temperature was about 12 degrees, but the air temperature had fallen to a mere two degrees at Sandy Bay, prompting a great deal of squealing amongst the hardy bathers.

Participants were only allowed to stay in the water for a few minutes as a precaution against hypothermia and there were fires and plenty of heaters set up along the beach to warm up the swimmers when they came out of the water.

A supplementary “Prude swim” was arranged for the more modest swimmer later this morning, although it would seem unlikely that there would be any media interest in such a tame sideshow event.

The Dark MOFO winter festival event that had caused so much controversy after police tried to prevent it earlier in the year was fully booked with hundreds of swimmers signing up to take part.

MOFO organisers hope that the nude swim will become an annual tradition.

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