Polar Plungers brave 57 degree waters

By Randy Lefko
Posted 1/3/18

EAGLE HARBOR – “Why Not?”

That was the answer from Oklahoma sweatshirt-wearing Ryan Paris, of Fleming Island, who was doing an impromptu celebration of his 46th birthday prior to watching …

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Polar Plungers brave 57 degree waters

Posted

EAGLE HARBOR – “Why Not?”

That was the answer from Oklahoma sweatshirt-wearing Ryan Paris, of Fleming Island, who was doing an impromptu celebration of his 46th birthday prior to watching his Sooners football team in their afternoon NCAA playoff game against Georgia by crashing into the 57 degree Eagle Harbor Water Park pool on Mon., Jan. 1 during the annual New Year’s Day Polar Plunge.

Eagle Harbor event director Cory Kirk, after having the nearly 50 plungers listen to her safety speech of about six minutes,

“I think they regretted standing and listening to me in the cold more than the water,” said Kirk. “I think that was the fastest plunge and get out of the water stuff that I’ve ever seen here.”

With visitors from Buffalo, Michigan, a resident from the United Kingdom and a few Citadel area plungers, the Polar Plunge offered its challenge to youngsters down to eight years old and adults near 50.

John Shakelton, born in the United Kingdom and now a resident in Fleming Island, was with son Noah, said the cold water challenge was not quite up to British standards.

“We’re usually breaking ice to do this at home,” said Shakelton.

One family of lifeguards, dad Charlie Akins and son Drew Akins, had coerced friend Cassie Solms to join them in the annual event.

“I’m from here, my connection is my son is a lifeguard and I lifeguarded as a youngster, “ said Charlie Akins, who was wearing a Summerall Lifeguard.

From Buffalo, Florida snowbirds John Weisenborn and Michelle Breun brought some NFL Buffalo Bills mojo to the area for next week’s Jacksonville Jaguar playoff game on Sun., Jan. 7, but Breun was to venture into the waters as Weisenborn played photographer.

“I’ve done these in Buffalo so that tells you what I’ve done,” said Breun. “This is an odd day for Florida, don’t you think?”

Two area runners; Lisa and Dan Adams, finished off a seven mile run with a splash with daughter Grace, with a newly-earned driver’s licence, on hand.

“She was supposed to drive and meet me here with clothes for after,” said Dan Adams. “Maybe she’ll forget.”

Locally, 16 year veterans Victor and Whitney Murray, a father/daughter duo, have been at the Eagle Harbor event since arriving in 2002. Victor Murray was dressed with his 2012 Polar Plunge shirt as he “warmed up.”

“I really don’t know why we do this particular event, but it is something we’ve done together since coming here,” said Victor Murray. “This shirt is vintage Polar Plunge attire.”

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