Annenberg Community Beach House hosts Santa Monica’s inaugural Polar Bear Swim
Story and Photos by Julie Grace Immink
About 100 hardy souls washed away 2017 with a teeth-chattering plunge into frigid ocean waters last Saturday during Santa Monica’s inaugural Polar Bear Swim outside the Annenberg Community Beach House.
The morning ocean temperature was a bracing 59 degrees, and a dozen Los Angeles County Lifeguards equipped with paddleboards and jet skis stood by just in case anyone needed help.
But fun remained the order of the day, with a kids’ dip in shallow water followed by an adult swim race to a buoy and back. Professional longboarder Christian Stutzman was the first swimmer to make it back from the
buoy, and native South Bay surfer Morgan Sliff congratulated him with
a big bear hug.
Both veteran and first-time polar bears warmed up afterward in the 91-degree waters of the Annenberg Community Pool, played games, sipped hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows for s’mores.
Polar Bear swimmer Margaret Dessau, a retired doctor and photographer who had moved to Santa Monica a week earlier, used to participate in the famous Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge as a young girl. She’s been enjoying the sunny SoCal weather and has found the people of her new community to be very warm.