Hardy souls brave the ocean chill to ring in 2016 at White Rock's Polar Bear Swim Friday.

New Year’s plunge draws hundreds to White Rock beach

Hundreds of revellers welcomed 2016 with a chilly dip into Semiahmoo Bay Friday.

Hundreds of hardy souls rang in the new year with a chilly dip into Semiahmoo Bay Friday, at White Rock’s 46th annual Polar Bear Swim.

Linda Coyle, assistant district governor for the five Semiahmoo Peninsula Rotary Clubs  – principal organizers and sponsors of the event since last year – said there were some 650 who registered to make the noon-hour plunge near the white rock, encouraged by the sunny weather.

“But there are tons and tons more who come out just to watch – the pier was full of people and there were people as far as you could see to the east and the west,” she added.

“I’d say there were around 2,500 people there – very similar to last year, although there were a lot more people in the water than last year. It was a great success continuing the tradition – I think it’s a really important community event.”

Adding to the fun of the occasion was a plethora of costumes, from Viking helmets, tutus, tiaras and full-face masks to a furry ice-queen costume, pyjamas, a Yeti – and even a polar bear.

In addition to the Peace Arch, Peninsula, Semiahmoo, South Surrey and White Rock Rotary members, the event received significant support from RCM-SAR5 Crescent Beach, Minuteman Press, White Rock Youth Ambassadors and the City of White Rock, while St. John’s Ambulance volunteers were on hand to take care of minor scratches and scrapes, and Sources Community Resources Society raised funds for programs by selling hot dogs to a hungry crowd, even long after the dip had ended.


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