Some of the estimated 500 participants return from a quick dip out in Semiahmoo Bay, while thousands gathered to watch from the shoreline. (Lance Peverley photo)

PHOTOS: Record-breaking attendance for Polar Bear Plunge

Hundreds brave the chilly water for annual White Rock event

A record-breaking number of participants braved the chilly waters and watched from the shoreline Monday to bring in the new year with a brisk start.

Nearly 4,000 people gathered to watch about 500 hardy revellers rush into Semiahmoo Bay for the 48th annual Polar Bear Plunge, hosted near the white rock.

The 0C temperature was a minor deterrent for those who dressed down to their skivvies and raced to ring a bell floating off in the distance.

“The Polar Bear Plunge returned to Canada’s 151st New Year and it was truly a record-setting event for attendance and participation,” RCM-SAR5 Crescent Beach event volunteer Dean Donnelly wrote to Peace Arch News Tuesday. “Great fun was had by all for both spectators and participants who braved the elements for a refreshing start to 2018.”

Adding to the fun of the occasion was a plethora of costumes, from a banana, bumble bee, polar bear and Viking, to a mermaid.

Coffee, hot chocolate and hot dogs were also available for sale, to help swimmers warm up after drying off.

The event was organized by the Peace Arch, Peninsula, Semiahmoo, South Surrey and White Rock Rotary clubs, with support from RCM-SAR5 Crescent Beach, City of White Rock, Minuteman Press, Semiahmoo First Nation, Ocean Athletics, White Rock Youth Ambassadors and Big Fat Graphic House.

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