Pacific Plungers, Dash for Surf City on New Year's Day

It's that time of year when brave 'n chilly people'll run into the ocean near Huntington Beach Pier.

What to Know

  • Monday, Jan. 1
  • Noon (but the party starts earlier)
  • Huntington Beach Pier

Constantly rechecking the forecast for New Year's Day?

A lot of people do it, all to keep tabs on the Rose Bowl outlook, how the parade will fare, and whether a First Day Hike is in order, thanks to copious amounts of sunshine and breezes.

But a few foam-seeking, briny-favoring sorts give the weather the once-over specifically to find out if they'll be kind of cold when they run into the ocean on the first day of the year or incredibly cold, the sort of cold that sets the teeth to chattering.

For the first of January is traditionally the time for the Polar Bear Plunges and/or Swims, those fundraisers that see a line-up of laughing participants jump into a lake or pool or ocean. (Or, maybe not "jump" so much as tentatively wade in, depending upon the chill in the air.)

Surf City Splash deserves the Awesomely Probably Long-Running-est ribbon on the Polar Bear Plunge front. And while it isn't reallllly the long-running-est ever — Polar Bear Plunges happen around the world — it has been around for the better part of two decades, all while raising money for the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum. 

It's on New Year's Day again, in 2018, with "high noon" as the time when splashers'll dash for the big water. But there's a pancake breakfast beforehand, and a costume contest, so arrive well ahead of the noontime if you choose to join in.

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Especially if you're rocking an outfit that looks like a sea creature, or your pajamas, or you and your crew did the whole coordinated team costume thing. You could win an award, one you'd absolutely show off to both coworkers and strangers alike, surely, for years to come.


Cost is $25, and that does include your flapjacks, so eat up. You'll need the energy for dashing, and splashing, if you choose to linger in the Pacific for more than 13 seconds.

But in 2018, you might push your time record a bit further: The forecasted high is 70 degrees, not 55. That's still goosepimply enough, because, spoiler alert, the ocean isn't outfitted with a heating pump, but not the coldest New Year's Day on record, either.

So support a totally far out museum, engage in some giveback high jinks on New Year's Day, wear a costume, commune with the Pacific, and chow down on a few pancakes, too, all in Surf City USA.


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