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Thousands run into ocean for 40th annual Cayucos Polar Bear Dip

Officials estimate 5-6k people participated
Posted at 1:10 PM, Jan 01, 2020

A New Year's Day tradition in Cayucos continued for the 40th year in a row Wednesday morning.

Officials estimate 5,000-6,000 people participated in the Carlin Soule Memorial Polar Bear Dip to kick of 2020.

Cayucos resident Martin Biter came out with his family and friends to ring in 2020 with a dip in the ocean.

"It's so special just to look around and see all the people," Biter said. "This is really cool. It's a small town event that just makes you smile."

Martin said it was his fourth year in a row participating in the Polar Bear Dip and described the waves as "huge."

"This is the biggest we've ever seen [the waves] so we will definitely do the buddy system," Martin said.

The high surf advisory is in effect for Cayucos with waves 10-15 ft. and building 15-20 ft. later Wednesday.

Cal Fire SLO had several rescue swimmers and first responders on jet skis in the water, prepared for emergency water rescues. A Coast Guard boat was also in the water just beyond the Cayucos Pier to assist in the event of an emergency.

Event organizers said the water was about 58 degrees at the time of the plunge.

The popular Polar Bear Dip went smoothly for the New Year's revelers, as thousands rushed into the icy water.

The Cayucos Chamber of Commerce orchestrated the annual event.