Bracing Immersions To Ring in New Year

New Year's Day ocean dips to again raise thousands for charity.

On New Year’s Day, there will be three polar bear plunges, beginning with one at Gurney’s Inn in Montauk at 11 a.m., followed by one at East Hampton’s Main Beach at 1, and at Beach Lane, Wainscott, at 2:30, giving the most intrepid of Sunday’s plungers a fighting chance to do all three.
    The turnout for the one at Main Beach promises to be even bigger than ever, given the fact that East Hampton High School’s freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes are vying to determine which class will bring out the most participants. A trophy awaits the winner. The $25 donations are to go to the East Hampton Food Pantry.
    East Hampton’s Ocean Rescue Squad and the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter’s youth swim team, the Hurricanes, are putting the Main Beach event on. The East Hampton Lions Club provides the food, including chili, clam chowder, coffee, hot chocolate, and Dreesen’s doughnuts.
    “It’s a great way to get baptized into the New Year,” said John Ryan Jr., who added that while there is a costume contest, “no one should enter the water with a costume on.”
    Victor Rodriguez, an East Hampton High School sophomore, has designed the winning “Freezin’ for a Reason” logo, which is to be affixed to T-shirts and hats that will be for sale at the Pavilion, where registration is to be held from 10:30 to 12:30.
    “Don’t be late,” Ryan advised. “The parking spaces fill up quickly.”
    Colin Mather, who owns the Seafood Shop on Montauk Highway in Wainscott, and who apparently was the first plunger here, customarily sets off on a 1.6-mile run from the shop to the Beach Lane road end at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Fellow runner-plungers will be welcomed. The beneficiary of Mather’s plunge is Phoenix House.    J.G.