Manzanita, January 1st, 2014. Over 200 hardy souls  braved the frigid waters of the Pacific Ocean to welcome 2014. It was the 10th annual Manzanita Polar Plunge. With another hundred-plus onlookers, who stayed in their warm clothes, the event on Neahkahnie Beach was the most successful to date. The temperature outside was unseasonably warm but the Ocean temperature was close to 49-degrees. The first year, 2004, only 6 people took the polar plunge.

Myra Friedman and Kathi Howell from Portland displayed their new year's spirit.

Myra Friedman and Kathi Howell from Portland displayed their new year’s spirit. 

Fun-loving Janice Gaines, in the pink bathing suit, started the tradition.

Fun-loving Janice Gaines, in the cat-in-the-hat garb, started the tradition.

In 2004, Janice Gaines, the owner of the Spa Manzanita, decided a leap into the Ocean was a great way to cool off after a long hike. Since then, her Polar Plunge has gained momentum. It’s a free family event and Gaines has resisted requests to make it a fundraiser. She explains, “The event is growing because, it’s just simple and fun. People are looking for something fun to do on New Year’s Day and this doesn’t cost anything. It’s easy to do because people are already here, and some people even drive down for the plunge.” Participants pose for their photos by the fire and then it’s a race off to the water!

The water temperature was a chilly 49-degrees.

The water temperature was a chilly 49-degrees. Participants say when they plunge into the cold water, it takes their breath away.

Below are two links to two fun YouTube videos of the big 2012 Manzanita Polar Plunge!

Click here to see them running down the beach.

Click here to see them in the water!

Eileen, Erick and Lauren Frack

Eileen, Erick and Lauren Frack

A new year is a great reason to celebrate.

Organizers say they’re already looking forward to 2015.

 

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