Hardy souls BRRRing in the New Year at Sun-Oka Beach - InfoNews

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Hardy souls BRRRing in the New Year at Sun-Oka Beach

It was just another day at the beach for ladies in pink, Erica Markus Pawliuk and Corrianne Henson of Penticton as they made preparations for the frigid New Year's swim
January 01, 2018 - 2:02 PM

TROUT CREEK - This year’s Kinsmen Polar Bear Dip was one of those events where you come late, and leave early.

That doesn’t mean the 200 spectators and 100 participants didn’t have a good time, however as the 32nd annual rite to welcome in the new year took place on Sun-Oka Beach in Trout Creek at noon today, Jan. 1, 2018.

The cold and much snowier conditions than usual made it a short event on the beach this year.

Alyvia Gordevich of Peachland was awarded for being the youngest participant at the Summerland Kinsmen's Polar Bear dip at Sun Oka Beach today, Jan. 1, 2018.
Alyvia Gordevich of Peachland was awarded for being the youngest participant at the Summerland Kinsmen's Polar Bear dip at Sun Oka Beach today, Jan. 1, 2018.

Summerland Kinsman Club President Blair Gillingham said he was worried this year’s attendance might be the lowest ever, 15 minutes prior to the event.

“There weren’t many people on the beach when I looked at my watch at 11:30, but then everyone arrived,” he said as the last few swimmers exited the water. Gillingham had prizes for the best costumes, oldest and youngest and other categories which he handed out moments before the noon sharp dip.

Eight Penticton Search and Rescue members were on hand to keep the frigid frolickers safe, with four members in dry suits and four more backing them up on land.

Search and Rescue President Dale Jorgenson said the water temperature was around two or three degrees, with air temperature at minus six or seven Celsius.

Members of Penticton Search and Rescue wait patiently for the stroke of noon at Sun-Oka Beach today, Jan. 1, 2018.
Members of Penticton Search and Rescue wait patiently for the stroke of noon at Sun-Oka Beach today, Jan. 1, 2018.

The air temperatures were actually a couple of degrees warmer than previously predicted highs for today of minus eight Celsius, and similar to conditions of the 2016 swim.

There was more snow than usual on the beach for this year’s swim, resulting in swimmers lining up at the water’s edge rather than forming a group a hundred feet or so back as in past years. It’s probably safe to say most people participating in this year’s swim didn’t go quite as far into the water or remain in for as long as in past years.

Polar bear dippers gather on the beach following today's New Year's dip at Sun-Oka Beach.
Polar bear dippers gather on the beach following today's New Year's dip at Sun-Oka Beach.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
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