Huntington Beach

Polar Plunges Will Bring Chilly Cheer to New Year's Day

Surf City Splash in Huntington Beach and the Polar Bear Swim & Plunge on Catalina Island are both welcoming 2022 in a damp and delightful way.


What to Know

  • The zany tradition involves swimmers dashing into a lake or the ocean surf on the first day of the year, often to raise funds for a local charity
  • Both Huntington Beach and Avalon on Catalina Island will host plunges on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022
  • Some spots around the state hold similar events later in the year, including in Lake Tahoe, which traditionally sees a plunge in March

POLAR PLUNGES... happen for many reasons, in a lot of different places around the nation, but they typically involve one thing: Plenty of hardy types dashing into a cold body of water on the first day of the new calendar, or at some point during the winter season, in a memorable show of high spirits and low temperatures. Sometimes plungers are raising money for a great cause and sometimes they're plunging to celebrate the holidays, but whatever the reason, the events always boast a zany element, and, more importantly, oodles of spunky community cool. Some regional plunges have been around for several decades, others are newer, and around the Golden State? They're as plentiful as goose pimples on a bare arm on a January morn. That's fanciful talk, of course — we've never sat and counted goose pimples on a January morning — but if you're looking to join this joy-filled, icily offbeat event, you only need to look to...

HUNTINGTON BEACH, where the Surf City Splash will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at Huntington Beach Pier. "Make a Splash and Pick Up Trash!" is the theme, The Surfrider Foundation of Huntington/Seal Beach is the beneficiary, and there shall be vendors to peruse. The splash itself, by the by, takes place promptly at noon, and, oh yes: A pancake breakfast kicks things off. On Catalina Island, in the city of Avalon? The Polar Bear Swim & Plunge is on the schedule, with intermediate and advanced swimmers making for Casino Dive Park earlier in the morning on Jan. 1, and the fun plungers meeting at Middle Beach at 11 a.m. (oh yes, there shall be hot chocolate).

PLUNGE ON, GIVE BACK: Want to keep on plunging, and help support Special Olympics Northern California? The organization holds several chilly fundraisers throughout February and March, at a number of locations around the northern part of the state.

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