The Dolphin Dip is Back

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Events, Online Exclusives

Take an invigorating New Year’s Day hop in the ocean to benefit Share the Table.

The ocean temperature hovers in the upper 50s during the winter months, so who wouldn’t want to jump in for a splash to celebrate the new year?

Now in its 20th year, the annual Dolphin Dip is back live and in person. The Dip is held on January 1 at noon, and it’s a fun and exhilarating way to start the new year by washing off the old in what could be very cold water.

In 2022 this exciting event brings back the costumes, the challenges and the community. It will also benefit Share the Table as participants have the opportunity to purchase merchandise that will support the efforts of the local nonprofit.

The 2021 Dolphin Dip was held virtually but still attracted many people who were ready and excited about jumping into the ocean on New Year’s Day. Brian Moxey, who started the event 20 years ago, says that jumping into the cold water “feels phenomenal.” Even though it may be a little uncomfortable at first, the natural reaction afterward is that “you feel great.”

20th Dolphin Dip Surf City NC

“I always enjoyed jumping in cold water,” Moxey says. So, he gathered some of his friends together on that first New Year’s Day to join him for a dip in the ocean at the south end of the island. The event quickly grew as the word spread, and he moved it to Surf City to accommodate more people. He adds that the town of Surf City “has been phenomenal in their support.”

People have shown up in swimsuits ready to dive in, but also in crazy costumes.

As more costumes appeared each year, Moxey began to include a costume contest as part of the event. He tells the story of a bride who had been married the previous day and then showed up in her wedding gown for the New Year’s Day dip, as her husband had decided to go fishing.

One of Moxey’s favorite costumes was Dorothy and the cast of Wizard of Oz, with Dorothy being played by a “giant of a guy.” The audience, often in the thousands, votes for the best costume by way of their enthusiastic applause.

The Dolphin Dip has alternated nonprofits as beneficiaries and in 2019 decided to give the event to Share the Table to benefit from and to run. It has become one of the nonprofit’s major fundraising events each year. Share the Table Executive Director Dawn Ellis says, “We never know what to expect and are amazed each year with the thousands of people that turn out.”

Moxey Dolphin Dip Surf City NC

In addition to the costume contest, Ellis says, “our dinosaurs and belly dancers will also be back to entertain the crowd.” There will be challenges as well. Local Harris Teeter manager Chris Rivenburgh is challenging his staff, family and friends to donate money to get him in the water this year.

Share the Table benefits from challenges such as Rivenburgh’s and from the sale of merchandise, such as hats and t-shirts. This year’s Dolphin Dip t-shirt design was created by Topsail High School student Diego Alvarado in a contest held at the school.

Local businesses support the Dolphin Dip and Share the Table with sponsorships. In addition, this year for the first time Kiwanis and MENAC will be selling hot beverages.

All the festivities will kick off at the Roland Avenue Beach Access in Surf City at 11 am on January 1. The Dolphin Dip happens at noon sharp. Bring your best (and warmest) costumes, enjoy the exhilarating dip in the ocean and visit the Share the Table merchandise tables before and after to support a great local cause.

Enjoy the entertainment and the refreshing splash in the ocean, and you may even see some actual dolphins swimming just off the pier! As Dolphin Dip founder Brian Moxey exclaims, “It’s such an incredible feeling!”

Up for a dip?
Dolphin Dip
January 1, 2022
Events start at 11 am, dip at noon sharp
Roland Avenue Beach Access, Surf City
There is no registration necessary and no cost to attend. Bring the family. Bring the pets. Bring cash, as no checks or cards will be accepted for merchandise or beverages.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Dawn Ellis at

About the author

Pat Fontana

Pat Fontana

I am a business writer and communications workshop leader. My business, WordsWorking, and my recently published book, Talk to Me Like I’m a Human, focus on improving workplace communications, concentrating on the fundamentals of human interactions. I developed, write about and train on the concept of REAL Communications, encouraging others to communicate with Respect and Empathy, paying close Attention and Listening with intent. I can be reached at