Midwinter swim tribute for father and son who died 16 days apart

A fresh snowfall on the Southern Alps on Saturday didn't stop a hundred people taking a freezing midwinter plunge in the sea at Christchurch.

The tribute swim was organized in rememberance of father and son, Paul and Sam Zarifeh, who died just weeks apart.

Seventhwave wetsuit founder, 60-year-old Paul, died from pancreatic cancer in November 2017. His 27-year-old son Sam, was killed in a rafting accident just 16 days later.

And while there were freezing temperatures and rain today, there were no damp spirits at Sumner Beach.

Both 'Zed Boys' were water lovers.

"Sam was passionate about everything water-related, he took every opportunity to get wet whatever the weather," says mother and wife, Julie Zarifeh.

So today was for them.

"They'd be so pissed off they're not here, they would be!" Julie says.

The ice-cold bathers are hoping the annual mid-winter dip will live on alongside their memories. 

"They would think it's hilarious, there's ladies in coconut bikinis," one person told Newshub.

"It's such an honour to be able to do that for the family, we can't imagine what they've been through," another said.

Reflecting on the last 18 months, Julie says having to move on from an unimaginable loss says it's made her live "harder and faster and stronger".

"This is a reality check, life's tenuous, gotta get moving," she says.