White Rock Polar Plunge to go ahead, despite dead anchovies

White Rock Polar Plunge to go ahead, despite dead anchovies

Annual New Year event to return to White Rock beach after Dec. 20 storm destroyed waterfront

Although it might smell a little fishy, the White Rock Polar Bear Plunge is set to return in the new year for the 50th anniversary event.

Some residents expressed concern that the event might be cancelled due to an alarming number of dead anchovy near the city’s pier.

However, organizer Lindagene Coyle told Peace Arch News Monday that she see no issue with the dead fish, as most of them are located near the pier and not near the white rock, where the event is to be held.

“All the muck is on the west side of the pier. Actually, there’s not even that much anymore,” Coyle said. “It’s great, it doesn’t smell, there’s no dead fish all over the place, everything’s cleaned up.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Millions’ of shimmery fish in White Rock waters captivate

The annual plunge, co-ordinated by the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s six Rotary clubs, was cancelled this year after a Dec. 20 storm destroyed the pier and scattered broken boats and hundreds of logs along the shoreline.

Come Jan. 1, swimmers brave enough – or crazy enough – to endure the cold will plunge into the waters near the white rock at 12 p.m.

Organizers are not only encouraging people to dress up, but will award prizes for the best costume.

Coyle said one of her favourite costumes over the past few years was an elderly couple dressed up in red long johns and Santa hats.

“They were just so cute,” Coyle said.

The event used to be known as a ‘swim’ but Coyle explained it was renamed as a plunge because that’s more reflective of what people do.

However, Coyle said, there are a few people every year who aren’t deterred by the chilly water.

“Some people are crazy. And some people come and they are inebriated. They have, you know, leftover from the night before. So, we have to be prepared to take care of them.”

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue supports the event by making sure the swimmers are safe.

One year, Coyle said, event organizers placed an ‘iceberg’ a fair distance into the water and the first person who swam to the iceberg and rang a bell received a prize.

SEE ALSO: Seals and gulls swarm White Rock for fish-feeding frenzy

“I can’t tell you what the prize was the first year because we quickly became aware that it was illegal,” Coyle said. “You can’t give like, Polar Vodka, as a prize. So we had to change that up.”

“It only happened one time. It was a neat idea if you think about it.”

Coyle said if they wanted to have a bottle of vodka as the prize, they would need a licence. Additionally, she said, there are other reasons for the restriction, including that it’s a public place and children are there.

“It makes no sense. It’s a closed bottle. But anyway, it doesn’t matter. We cannot do that and we don’t do that,” Coyle said.

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Brenda Locke trying to breathe life into Surrey’s defunct Public Safety Committee

Surrey councillor’s motion will be up for debate at a future council meeting

RCMP logo
Keen-eyed neighbour’s call to police helps stop South Surrey burglary in progress

Mounties were on the way before suspects triggered home alarm

Naomi Morrisseau and daughter Genesis Reign-Soldat. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Surrey mom and young daughter found and are safe, police say

Naomi Morrisseau and her daughter Genesis Reign-Soldat, age 3, had been reported missing in Whalley

File photo
Surrey RCMP arrest local man accused of threatening Councillor Jack Hundial, prime minister

Hundial said he received a death threat ‘that basically said to put a bullet in me’

Cambridge Elementary School, which was ordered closed for two weeks by Fraser Health due to a COVID-19 outbreak, is seen in Surrey, B.C., on Sunday, November 15, 2020. (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Surrey school that shut down due to COVID-19 outbreak set to reopen next week

District, Fraser Health has assessment team going through the school

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

A new ‘soft reporting’ room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020 which is thought to be the first of its kind in B.C. (Ann Davis Transitional Society/ Facebook)
New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

A UBC study recommends an multi-government investment of $381 million to protect 102 species at risk in the Fraser River estuary. (Photo supplied by Yuri Choufour)
102 Fraser River estuary species at risk of extinction, researchers warn

UBC team develops $381-million strategy to combat crisis, boost economy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

Most Read