I think I lost my toes at sea.
I have been going to Polar Bear Plunge in Long Beach, NY for the past 4 years. This location hosts one of the largest gatherings in the U.S. every year on Super Bowl Sunday. Of all the years to go, this was the coldest… of course this was also my first year going into the water. The temperature was below freezing (around 28˚ F), and the wind did not help. There was still snow on the beach from snowstorm Juno with advisory that another wintry mix was upon our region later that night after the Super Bowl. But I was committed to take the plunge this year!
Bundled up with endless layers, I was anxiously waiting to meet up with my girlfriends. Once we were all together, we went over to the Polar Bear booth and purchased our sweatshirts. The proceeds are donated to Make-A-Wish foundation, so we were more than happy to donate to the cause and wear warm hoodies after the dip. We received our Coco Rave Swimsuits in the mail just in time for the event. Talk about fast shipping! I received the package in less than 2 days. I had 3 other friends join me this year. We each had the opportunity to pick the swimsuits, mixing what was available of the collections.
Here were our picks:
The energy was building as more and more people made their way to the shoreline. Everyone was excitedly chatting in groups, covered from head to toe in full-out winter gear. If we weren’t at the beach, it would have looked like a giant party at a ski resort the way everyone was dressed. Then I saw groups of guys walking around shirtless and painted up, a man in a banana suit, and a lot of crazy hats you’d see at festivals. There were emergency responders everywhere for safety precautions.
We stood around in a huddled mass as we planned our approach. I really had no idea what to expect. It was easy to watch others run into the water, laughing at them and at the absurdity of it all.. The towels were strategically placed, and the clothes were folded just the right way. All the while, we were taunting each other about how far to go in. Honestly, I wanted to back out. Then the bright idea hit us… WEAR SOCKS! It looked silly, but let me tell you it worked.
The big rush wasn’t until 1:30pm. At this point, it was only 15 minutes away. I looked around and at least half of the crowd was ready, down to the swimsuits, lining up in their group of friends & family. Giant speakers were playing music. A man on the microphone rallied us up, and the sound of his horn added to the atmosphere. The excitement had completely washed over me and I was more pumped about getting this done and over with than the possible frostbite I felt in my fingertips. This has to be worth it, I thought to myself.. The horn blew.
Here we go!!!
I just ran and didn’t look back. Hoping the momentum would carry me all the way. A few steps in and I hopped over the first wave. A few more steps and I felt like I was trudging through mud. I couldn’t feel my feet, but surprisingly I was still warm. My friend was just 2 feet to my left, and she dipped all the way down to her shoulder. Oh boy. I crouched at the next wave and felt the ice-cold sea splash over my shoulders. I could taste the salty water and instantly brought back memories of summertime. That was enough. Quickly I stood up and rushed back to land. The adrenaline had kicked in and I could hardly feel the cold. I was giggling the entire way back thinking my toes must’ve fallen off.
We reconvened back at the blanket to dry off and warm up. At this point, I took off the wet socks and checked for my toes. Good – I still have all 10, I thought. I couldn’t feel them, but I was feeling better that I still had all my toes. So what was so great about the socks? It cuts the stinging cold water as you enter so you don’t feel the shock so much. I can’t deny its brutality, but what’s life without a little danger? Bring an extra pair of warm fuzzy socks to wear and you’ll be just fine. While you thaw out, a thermos of hot tea is a good idea too!
After getting dressed, I began to feel human again. The adrenaline dissipated, and a general fatigue and hunger took over. Perfect, just enough time to go home, eat some pre-game appetizers and then watch the puppy bowl while I surf Instagram to see who else did it, too.
All in all, YES it was cold BUT a lot of fun. When you have your girlfriends there and cute swimsuits to wear, that makes all the difference. I will definitely be doing it again next year. Will you be joining? Not only do you support a local charity, but also it is an experience worth the adrenaline rush! #BrrrRave the cold, because spring break is almost here and these swimsuits will look better in the sun compared to snow!