Chilly start to 2015 for brave Polar Bear swimmers in Fort Langley

“Looks like a great day for a dip!” bellowed Bryan McIntosh as he and his family arrived at the Brae Island campground’s parking lot at 8:45 in the morning on New Year’s Day.

McIntosh, his nine-year-old son Justin, and Justin’s friend Jack Kortus, also nine, were among the roughly dozen people who plunged into the Fraser River at 9 a.m. sharp on Jan. 1, welcoming the new year by taking part in the second annual Polar Bear Swim in Fort Langley.

A thin coating of ice hugged where the frigid water touches the sandy shoreline of Brae Island Beach on the north side of the Bedford Channel, but that didn’t scare off the swimmers from sprinting into the river on the first freezing cold morning of 2015.

The first three swimmers to reach the dock on the opposite side of the beach were to be crowned Fraser Valley polar bear champions, but no one was willing to take up that challenge, especially with the temperature at start time sitting at -4ºC.

Instead, after a countdown from 10, the group hop-stepped, en masse, into the frigid Fraser and then rambled out of the water just as quickly. Only two swimmers stayed in the water for more than a few seconds.

There was no charity aspect to the swim, other than it being a fun community event.

McIntosh said he took part because his wife Rachel challenges him to do “silly things all the time.”

This was McIntosh’s first polar bear swim in Fort Langley. He’s taken part in two similar events in White Rock.

Before the swim, McIntosh vowed to go “all the way in.”

“I’m just going to go for a quick dive, make sure that my heart doesn’t completely stop, break the ice, and go through it,” McIntosh said. “If the heart’s still ticking, then we know we’re going to have a good 2015.”

Joining McIntosh in the water was Josh Harder.

“I’m running in as fast as I can, as deep as I can and then splash around and run back out,” Harder said, before the swim.

As he dried off after his quick dip, Sam Lacasse exclaimed, “That was a gooder! Way colder than White Rock.”

McIntosh meanwhile, ran back into the water after his initial plunge and dove back in before joining the rest of the participants on shore.

Just Posted

Half million dollars change Langley couple’s life

Richard and Frances Laidlaw contemplate travel and moving

Liberal hopeful aims to claim candidate spot in Langley-Aldergrove

Leon Jensen was the 2015 candidate in Langley-Aldergrove.

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

South Langley community group wants to talk innovative housing

Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association invites people to a meeting about the future of housing.

GREEN BEAT: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

HUB Langley pushed to ‘UnGap the Map’ and create more bike infrastructure throughout the community.

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

SNC-Lavalin backtracks on CEO’s comments surrounding potential job losses

Top boss had said protecting 9,000 jobs should grant leniency

Pedestrian killed, two injured in three-vehicle crash in Coquitlam

Road closures in effect following collision

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

Most Read