It was a freezing, windy, cold plunge into 2022 for about 60 (crazy) people who braved icy waters to take part in the 36th annual Summerland Kinsmen Polar Bear Dip at Sunoka Beach Jan. 1.
The wind was debilitating, and with outside temperatures of -9 C and a windchill of -17 to -19 C, it was probably one of the coldest, harshest polar bear plunges ever done at Sunoka.
The Kinsmen came prepared with several large fires burning on the beach to keep dippers warm before and after the plunge.
They also had polar bear dip T-shirts for sale and hot dogs going on the barbecue.
Three Penticton Search and Rescue volunteers waded into the wavy waters to be there should anything go wrong, such as if someone went into shock from the bitter cold.
No rescues were necessary as everyone enjoyed themselves. Two young women even dove in, while others swam around for a minute.
A group of swimmers who still swim in Okanagan Lake during the winter on the Penticton-side decided to take in the Polar Bear dip.
Frederik Numsen, president of the Summerland Kinsmen Club, said the last few years have been mild for New Year’s Day, but this one has been wild.
“Regardless, I always love this event due to its unpredictability and shared traditions in our community,” he said.
Those who are unable to attend but wish to make a donation to the Kinsmen Club of Summerland are asked to visit summerlandkinsmen.com/events/polar-bear-dip or send a cheque to Summerland Kinsmen, Box 686, Summerland BC, V0H 1Z0.