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5 Tips for Braving the Polar Bear Plunge

What better way to say goodbye to 2016 and welcome the New Year than running head-first into the shockingly cold water of the Pacific Ocean? The Fifth Annual Polar Bear Plunge will be taking place in Avila Beach on New Years day at noon. Surprisingly enough, people willingly return year after year to submerge themselves in freezing water. In fact, last year, the water temperature was estimated to be 54 degrees.  Sounds crazy, right? Try crazy fun! This unique Central Coast event celebrates fitness, nature, the New Year, and camaraderie, while drawing hundreds to the beach to witness the Plunge. Do you think you’re up to the challenge? We’ve gathered tips from expert Polar Bear Plunge participants that will give you the confidence you need make a splash in 2017.

1. Use the Buddy System

You know the saying, “misery loves company.” The Polar Bear Plunge is certainly an event that requires a buddy to keep you motivated and committed to following through. Under these circumstances, peer pressure is a good thing. Bring along plenty of family and friends to keep your spirits high no matter how low the temperature gets. Not only will they ensure that you complete the plunge, but you’ll have a true bonding experience. Sharing a unique moment such as this will provide you with stories for years and memories that you’ll never forget. But mostly, it’s fun to laugh with your friends and family as you all feel the shock of the cold water simultaneously.

Photo: (c) Santa Maria Times

Photo: (c) Santa Maria Times

 

2. Commit to the Plunge

Whatever you do, do not test the water before the plunge! Keep your toes, feet, and hands out of the water until it’s time to plunge all the way in. Testing the water and feeling how cold it is may deter you from following through, but it also takes away from the experience of the plunge itself. Embrace your building anticipation and use the adrenaline it creates to fuel your commitment to the event. After all, it’s called a “plunge,” not a wading pool!

Photo: (c) Cary L. Geihs

Photo: (c) Cary L. Geihs

 

3. Get Proof

Although the Avila Beach Polar Bear Plunge doesn’t offer certificates of completion, you’ll still want proof of your amazing and brave accomplishment! That being said, be sure to take plenty photos and videos of your experience. You could even GoPro the entire plunge so you can relive your adventure again without entering the cold water! When you’re ready to share your photos and videos, be sure to use #CentralCoasting to show the rest of the county why they should do the plunge next year!

Photo: (c) Alan J. Raul

Photo: (c) Alan J. Raul

4. Keep Towels Close

Before you plunge into the water, set up a little camp with all of your group’s belongings and remember as best you can exactly where it is. Get your towels and robes our of your bags and readily available to grab after you’re done with the plunge because you’ll be running towards warmth faster than you ran into the water. You’ll be doing yourself a favor that you’ll really appreciate as your wrap yourself in the comfort of a dry towel after emerging from the cold water. If you forget to bring enough towels, worry not! Towels, robes, and other items are available for purchase in the Avila Lighthouse Suites lobby, just steps away from the beach.

Photo: (c) Santa Maria Times

Photo: (c) Santa Maria Times

5. Enjoy the Moment

As cold as the water will be, the Polar Bear Plunge is an incredibly fun experience that will give you the adrenaline rush you need to start the New Year off strongly. Be sure to have a positive attitude and be present in the moment because you won’t experience anything like the Polar Bear Plunge for another 365 days. Wear your wackiest costume, make friends with your neighboring beach-goers, and run into the water as quickly as you can. Afterwards, celebrate with lunch or dessert at one of the local shops located along the Avila Beach Promenade, get cozy with a hot cocoa or coffee, or lay out on the sand to let the sun warm you up.

Photo: (c) Santa Maria Times

Photo: (c) Santa Maria Times

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