A Plunge with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club
This group is straight up crazy. I had the idea to shoot a little series of the club doing their weekly winter dip on Sunday, and it did not disappoint. Air temp was “warm” for February at 36°F (2°C) and the water was exactly the same. To give you an idea of how cold that is, the American west coast ocean doesn’t reach those temperatures until you get to the inner nooks of Alaska. Norway and Iceland don’t even get this cold.
All covered with my wetsuit, I jumped in with the screaming bunch and documented their fight against the frigid Atlantic waters. They had told me it lasts about five minutes. I was surprised at first to hear the short duration, and saw about half get out at that mark, then by ten minutes almost all were back out onto the beach.
While changing out of my suit after, I said “what the heck I have to try it”, so I threw on my trunks and ran back across the beach to the water and waded in. At the waist deep mark, I was stunned with pain in my legs. I couldn’t believe it. I knew it would just get worse with time so I dove in fully submerged and popped up with a shriek. I absolutely had to get out. I lasted one whole minute. How all these other people did it for so long I have no idea, but I’ll have to give it a proper try and see if I can match it. Thank you Polar Bear Club for being so warm and welcoming while I came out to document your gathering!