New Year’s Day Adrenaline Rush: Polar Bear Plunge [50 PICS]

December 29th, 2012 Permalink

If you are adventurous and like adrenaline rushes, then have you considered starting off the New Year with a polar bear plunge? “Polar Bear Swims”, “Plunges”, or “Dips”, are a New Year’s Day tradition in numerous countries. Thousands upon thousands of brave souls race toward the icy cold water and then make a mad dash back out. In the USA, folks are freezin’ for a reason as most polar bear plunges are to raise money for a charitable organizations. In Canada and the Netherlands, polar bear plunges are associated with New Year’s Day. 36,000 people participated in ‘Nieuwjaarsduik’, New Year’s dive, January 1st 2012 in the Netherlands. Since 1960, every New Year’s Day, at least 10,000 people dive collectively into the icy cold sea water at Scheveningen which is the Netherlands’ main beach resort town. While New Year’s Day is not the only day for taking up such an extreme sport, for some it is Superbowl Sunday, one thing is the same worldwide for people in polar bear swims . . . the look of shocked faces as if they cannot believe the water is that cold or that they took part in a polar bear plunge. Whether it’s brave, stupid, or simply invigorating, kudos to all those folks! [50 Photos]

Polar Bear Swim in Kangasala, Western Finland

Polar Bear Swim in Kangasala, Western Finland. The photographer added, “Polar bear swimming on Christmas Eve. It was -26 C (-14 F) out and +90 C (+195 F) in the sauna.” Photo #1 by Karri Ojanen

All the World is Frozen, sunrise before a polar bear plunge

People take part in a polar bear plunge for all sorts of reasons. For example, this photographer for ‘All the World is Frozen’ explained, “A few friends and I jumped into the lake yesterday and raised some money for families in need – it was a really great time. The water was nowhere near as shocking as one might expect and it was over before it began. Take it from me – if you’re up to it – the polar bear plunge is a great time!” Photo #2 by Justin Kern


10,000 people run toward the freezing water for Nieuwjaarsduik, a New Year's Dive, Scheveningen, Netherlands

Huge crowds show up for some polar bear swims. Look at the excitement as these participants race toward the Hague for a New Year’s Dive. The photographer wrote, “In the Netherlands the 1st of January is traditionally celebrated with a new year’s dive (Nieuwjaarsduik). No matter how cold it is, at least 25.000 people plunge into the freezing water each January. There are over 60 locations in the Netherlands where you can jump into the sea or a lake. The largest dive is held at the beach of Scheveningen, where well over 10,000 people plunge into the sea each year. The number of people actually wanting to participate exceeded 14,000. This was due to the relative warm weather (8 degrees Celsius), compared to other years. The Dutch tradition started in 1960 in Zandvoort when a swim club decided to start the year fresh with a plunge in the sea. The new year’s dive received national attention after a big soup brand decided to sponsor it. From that moment on, the amount of participants and locations has increased every year.” Photo #3 by Maurice (Haags Uitburo)

New Year's Dive Scheveningen, the Hague, Netherlands

Now they race out of the freezing water. New Year’s Dive Scheveningen, the Hague, Netherlands. Photo #4 by Alexander Fritze

Polar Bear plunge, brave folks were dressed for a beach in Hawaii but instead found themselves in the frigid waters of the Mississippi for a good cause

These Polar Bears were dressed for a beach in Hawaii, but instead found themselves in the frigid waters of the Mississippi for a good cause. Photo #5 by Jessie Sanders, EAGLE 102

Two brave girls prepare to take the polar bear plunge, New Year's Day at Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Two brave girls prepare to take the polar bear plunge, New Year’s Day at Bradford Beach, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo #6 by Dori

Annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim in Lake Ontario

From the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim in Lake Ontario. According to the photographer, “Pretty warm weather for it this year (a foggy 7 degrees), but don’t try telling that to these folks. Usually they have to break a big hole in the ice. A festive scene, as always, with a lot of money raised for excellent causes.” Photo #7 by Maggie & Rick

A little trepidatious are they (says the dry photographer) Polar Bear Dip, California

“A little trepidatious are they (says the dry photographer).” Photo #8 by Elizabeth Haslam

Pig escapes cooking pot by taking part in polar bear swim in the Hague

The photographer wrote, “Piglet escapes from the soup kettle. The Hague New Year’s dive and escape from the cooking pot.” Photo #9 by Roel Wijnants

Polar Bear and Super Dad at Annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Polar Bear and Super Dad at 89th Annual Vancouver Polar Bear Swim in 2009. Photo #10 by Margarita Banting

Grandma and couple kissing at different New Year's Day polar bear plunge events

Left: Grandma helped from water during CCAN polar bear plunge. Right: A couple kiss and share body heat during the polar bear swim at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on New Year’s Day. Photo #11 by Josh Lopez & #12 by Dori

Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics

Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics. Photo #13 by Doug Love

Polar Bear Plunge, winter swimming in Russia

Extreme Winter Swimming in Murmansk, Russia | Air -15°C / Water 2°C. (Air 5° Fahrenheit / Water 35.6°) Photo #14 by Andrey Papko

Holding hands for body heat during polar bear plunge in Indianapolis

It helps to hold hands! The photographer added, “If you’re running into a freezing lake on a cold February morning, any kind of body heat helps.” Photo #15 by Steve Baker

Polar Bear Plunge, New Year's Day in the Netherlands

Polar Bear Plunge, New Year’s Day dive in the Netherlands. Photo #16 by Pa3ems

Milwaukee Fire Department worker wears a drysuit in the water during a polar bear plunge watching for swimmers that may need assistance

A Milwaukee Fire Department worker wears a drysuit in the water during a New Year’s Day polar bear plunge, watching for swimmers that may need assistance. Photo #17 by Dori

Strongman loves his ice, Polar Bear Swim at North Avenue beach, Chicago

Strongman loves his ice. Polar Bear Swim at North Avenue beach, Chicago. Photo #18 by Sandor Weisz

Happy New Year, polar bear swim at Puget Sound in Seattle, WA

Happy New Year, polar bear swim at Puget Sound in Seattle, WA. Photo #19 by [ Graham Lee ]

Cold water is too much for this young girl hugging her mom, then being rescued during the polar bear plunge

Not everyone enjoys polar bear swims. The photographer in Indianapolis wrote: “The young girl didn’t like the freezing lake. Mother and daughter share a freezing moment as the young girl wanted out.” Right: “She was saved from the freezing water. The Polar Plunge at Eagle Creek Park was too much for the young girl.” Photo #20 by Steve Baker & #21 by Steve Baker

Hole cut in the ice of North Bar Lake, Empire, Michigan, as young girl takes the polar bear plunge

Meanwhile in Michigan: “Every February the residents of Empire venture out doors, not to see if they have a shadow, but to go for a swim in North Bar Lake.” Photo #22 by jsorbieus

Let the trampling begin, Polar bear dip Cayucos, California

“Let the trampling begin.” Polar bear dip Cayucos, California. “A new year’s day tradition to congregate at the ocean and be weird and then jump in the ocean head to toe, for a suitable for framing certificate.” Photo #23 by Elizabeth Haslam

New Year's Dive at Klinkenvlierse Plas Coevorden the Netherlands

New Year’s Dive at Klinkenvlierse Plas Coevorden the Netherlands. Photo #24 by SanShoot

It's good to be a polar bear and a samari during polar bear swims

Some polar bear swimmers might have ulterior motives? Photo #26 by lululemon athletica & #27 by Dan Mullen

Zombies at a polar bear swim

Zombies in the Polar Plunge! The photographer added, “Zombies can’t drown so why not? It was for the Polar Plunge at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.” Photo #28 by Steve Baker

Polar Bear swim at The Hague. Traditionally, a few members of the Hague Sudenten Association dress up in nice suits, take to the icy sea, and toast to good New Year's wishes

The Hague. Traditionally, a few members of the Hague Sudenten Association dress up in nice suits, take to the icy sea, and toast to good New Year’s wishes. Photo #29 by Roel Wijnants

Mad Dash Out of the water after polar bear plunge on New Year's Day

Mad Dash Out: Polar Bear Plunge, January 1, at Milwaukee’s Bradford Beach. Photo #30 by Dan Mullen

Hole cut in the ice for shockingly freezing polar bear plunge

Hole cut in the ice for shockingly freezing polar bear plunge. Photo #31 by smcgee & #32 by jsorbieus

Blurring the Line Between Pain and Fun -- Chicago Lakeview Polar Bear Club Polar Plunge

Blurring the Line Between Pain and Fun. Chicago Lakeview Polar Bear Club (LPBC) Polar Plunge. Photo #33 by John W. Iwanski

Polar bear plunge in a business suit

Polar bear plunge in a business suit and so cold you could see his breath. Photo #34 by Dan Mullen

New Year's Day Polar Bear Plunge, Coney Island

Top left: Rushing toward the water during Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge. Top right: New Year’s Day brave souls at polar bear swim. Bottom left: Santa unwinding after a busy holiday during Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge. Bottom right: Freezing for a reason at New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge, Camp Sun Shine charity fund raising @ Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. Photo #35 by Tom Giebel & #36 by guney cuceloglu & #37 by Barry Yanowitz & #38 by ace r (N0fX)

US military polar bear swim at Camp Humphreys South Korea

The conditions were just right for Humphreys’ 2nd annual Polar Bear swim here Jan. 9 – 31 degree water, 25 degree outdoor temperature and over 175 people anxious to plunge into the frigid water at Splish and Splash Water Park. “IF you build it, they will come.” The massive military community rising from the rice paddies in South Korea dwarfs anything Kevin Costner’s character might have envisioned in the movie “Field of Dreams.” Photo #39 by U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys

Nieuwjaarsduik kiss

Nieuwjaarsduik. The photographer wrote, “A refreshing dip New Year on January 1 ……… and fresh it was.” Photo #40 by Martha de Jong-Lantink

More polar bear plungers take the polar dip

Left: Polar Bear Dip on January 1st in Herring Cove, Nova Scotia. Right: Business team, annual polar bear dip. Photo #41 by Glenn Euloth & #42 by Steve Corey

Toronto Polar Bear Dip

Toronto Polar Bear Dip. Photo #43 by Paul Henman

Bowen Bay Polar Bear Swim in British Columbia, Canada

Bowen Bay Polar Bear Swim in British Columbia, Canada. The photographer wrote, “Everyone is happy to get out, let me tell you!” Photo #44 by Richard Smith

Bravely scream like nobody is watching while taking the polar bear plunge at Empire Winter Fest & Polar Bear Dip

Bravely scream like nobody is watching while taking the polar bear plunge at Empire Winter Fest. Photo #45 by jsorbieus

Polar bear swim, It was bigger than a tea party and much more fun

It was bigger than a tea party and much more fun. Photo #46 by Elizabeth Haslam

The Polar Bear Plunge -- Tip Up Town Houghton Lake MI

A bikini-wearing girl freezes while her more conservative mother prepares for the polar bear plunge. The high temperature for this day was 13 degrees; the low was a balmy -2. Photo #47 by Joe Ross

Chicago polar bear plunge into the icy water

The photographer said it was “Bloody cold. According to Weather.com, Outside temperature 10°F (-13°C), Feels Like -6°F (-21°C) with wind chill.” Photo #48 by Alan C.

Crowded polar bear dip

Crowded polar bear dip. Photo #49 by Zack Gingg

Laurel Lake Massachusetts, skinny dipping, private polar bear plunge

Skinny dipping in a private polar bear plunge. Photo #50 by Zach Klein


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