Event: 2019 Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge


It was a warm-ish 55 degrees.

But it was windy. Bracingly so.

And the water was still a chilly 46 degrees.

That was New Year’s Day in Asbury Park for the 2019 Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge.


But while the air temp was warmer than most years, the water still held it’s bite – it was around 45 degrees That did not stop the 600 participants from starting their year with a quick (or long) dip and raising money for two great charities: Mary’s Place By The Sea, a respite home for women with cancer, and You Can NOT Be Replaced, which raises awareness about teen suicide.

Weather-wise, this year was much different than last year, when it was about 10 degrees. Then, numbers were down. This year, numbers of plungers and donations were way up and that’s a great thing for the charities. Since the Sons of Ireland (of Rumson, NJ) started the plunge in 2002, they’ve now raised more than $750,000 for local charities.


Last year, the Asbury Park Beach Patrol – who are always on hand and in the water just in case – had to worry about the frigid conditions, this year they had to worry about a wicked, swirling Atlantic Ocean. Personally, I felt this was one of my most challenging plunge shoots because of how hard the waves were crashing.

In fact, at one point, I got knocked down to my knees, which I can’t remember happening. This happened more so from getting run into than the waves but all I could think about was keeping my Canon 70D high up over my head so that it wouldn’t go under. While I have a rain cover on it (and put electrical tape over the media card and battery doors, and around where the lens meets the camera body), having it go under would not be a good thing. Luckily, I was able to keep it high…and dry.




Here’s a really great drone video that shows what the advance of people looks like. I love seeing this perspective.

And here’s the photo slideshow I put together. Much thanks to my buddies The Vansaders for letting me use their song End Of The Line as backing music.

One again, another great plunge to kick of the new year!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019

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