January 01, 2016 - 2:18 PM
PENTICTON - Sub zero temperatures and a snow covered beach failed to deter hundreds from participating in this year’s Summerland Polar Bear Dip.
Summerland Kinsman Club President Mike Petkau says roughly 200 dippers took to Okanagan Lake today, Jan.1, to start the new year with an icy plunge.
Petkau estimates up to 500 in total attending Sun Oka Park in Trout Creek for the short-lived but spirited event, which took place for a few brief minutes at noon.
Penticton Search and Rescue Volunteer Kelvin Hall says 14 volunteers from Penticton, one from Oliver and two from Keremeos took part in today’s event.
Ensuring safety of the dippers, seven of the organizations’ swift water rescue technicians and eight first aid volunteers were on hand. Hall says water temperature was around one or two degrees Celsius, with the air temperature sitting at -8 degrees C and down to -11 with the wind chill.
This year’s costumed dippers appeared to be following a superhero theme dressed as Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
“It’s nice to see people dressing up,” Rylan “Flash” Hernberg of Penticton says. This was Hernberg’s seventh polar bear dip.
“It seems pretty cold,” he said, when asked whether this was the coldest weather he'd yet experienced.
Kinsmen’s Petkau says participant numbers have grown each of the three years he’s been heading the event.
“Today was a perfect day. There was no wind, so it felt warmer,” he says. Last year, roughly 350 people attended the event with approximately 150 taking the plunge.
The 2016 event was the 31st dip sponsored by the Summerland Kinsmen Club. Several volunteers were on hand to stoke fires, as well as to serve up hot dogs and hot drinks for a donation. The club donates all proceeds from the event to local families and community projects.
Summerland Polar Bear Dip
If you've missed it this year, add it to your bucket list for next year. Don't they look like they're having fun?http://infotel.ca/newsitem/hundreds-of-hardy-souls-take-new-years-plunge-in-okanagan-lake/it26410
Posted by InfoNews Penticton on Friday, January 1, 2016
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