2012, bring it! Polar Bear Swim, Vancouver

Winter swim technique - have a running start to prevent chickening out

Every January 1st thousands of Vancouverites flock to English Bay beach to celebrate the new year with the annual Polar Bear Swim. I remember watching a video clip of it on a local news network and thinking to myself that I would do it one day. Six ripe years later I finally decided to get my gears into place and do it!

Thanks to our Modo co-op car being allowed to park in Permit only residential areas we managed to grab a nice parking spot right in front of English Bay. A five-minute walk down brought us smack in the middle of all the action – a group of men in tiny spandex swimwear were warming up doing jumping jacks. One fellow even decided to bare it all aside from a strategically placed black cotton sock. How the sock stayed in place despite all the jumping around remains a mystery to me. Lots of people showed up in great costumes, I also saw a paper mache shark and one guy wearing an exercise balance ball as a hat. He certainly would have no issues staying afloat.

Costumes galore

The weather was great with some sunshine that I didn’t feel as cold considering I’m in board shorts and a bikini top in the middle of winter. I was also more excited to test my GoPro camera (yay Christmas presents – a gear review coming soon!) while running into the freezing water with hundreds of others crazy enough to do the same. Watching the video clips after I realise I need to be a little more mindful of what my arms are doing – they come in and out of the picture with RoboCop-like movement (I hope to post the video up soon once I figure out how to do some editing and uploading).

Suddenly its showtime and before I know it I hear the screams and squeals of hundreds of people taking the plunge. I trot towards the water and dip my feet – ah, coooold. Bringing in 2012 I take a breath, run in and dive. The water was incredibly refreshing, a good kick up the behind. I so enjoyed the coldness of it that I ran back in for a quick round two. Just cause I can.

I hope that everyone had a fantastic New Years’ – here’s to 2012!!!


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