While New Year's Day traditions run the holiday gamut, from the eating of certain foods to the wishing well of friends to balling up in blankets to watch the Rose Parade from the comfort of a couch, there are a few people who like to get very cold and highly moist, courtesy of the Pacific Ocean, on Jan. 1.
Huntington Beach's Surf City Splash is part of the worldwide phenomenon -- or brrr-nomenon, if you prefer -- of people running into various icy bodies of water on the first day of the year, to raise money for charity, to start the year afresh, or just to have some teeth-chattering laughs with pals.
And if you're thinking only a few adventurous souls show up to strip down to their swimsuits and skivvies, we'll au contraire you right here: This pier-close tradition is way, way popular, to use some surfer-style, HB-esque speak. Way. Loads of people show up, ready to brave waves that produce goosebumps upon contact.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Ready to take a cleansing dip and wash away the old year? The 15th annual go-around of the Surf City Splash heads into the ocean at midday on Thursday, Jan. 1, though a full day of celebrating, including a pancake breakfast and costume contest, surround the delightfully silly, light-of-heart doings.
Oh yes: Some participants show in outlandish get-ups, so don't be afraid to don a daft hat (you won't be wearing much else). As for the main swimsuit rule? No wetsuits allowed -- "that's cheating!" admonishes the splash's site.
Even if you can't make the cold, cold commitment to become one with the Pacific just hours into 2015, you can watch -- er, gawk? -- and join the on-shore festivities.
But figure the happy splash is another fine chance to remind relatives elsewhere that California living is no myth: We really do play in the ocean and throw flower-covered parades, even on the chilly first day of the year.