See video of this year's polar dip by clicking here
White, a radiologist with Western Health, hosted his annual polar dip on New Year’s Day on the waters of the Humber River at his waterfront property on Marble Drive in Steady Brook.
It’s a New Year’s tradition that continues to grow with 31 men, women and children braving the elements with a dip in the water to kick off the new year. A native of Dublin, Ireland, the jovial 44-year-old was the only person to take the dip five years ago when he got the idea to mark the first of the year with a dip in the river. There was also one year when himself and Corner Brook Rapids swim coach Tracy Hogan were the only two to take a dip as a blustery storm raged across the Humber River.
Having grown up swimming with a lot of people in their 50s and 60s White developed an appreciation for the positives that come from swimming. Doing it in chilly waters and unforgiving weather conditions just makes it that much more fun and exhilarating in his humble opinion.
“The mystery is not why I do it, but rather why other people don’t do it,” White said after leading a group of brave souls to the water.
According to White, those who take the plunge really should feel good about it after it’s over and done with. Some of those who were shivering and shaking when they exited the water, probably didn’t think so initially, but as all of the chilly dippers packed into White’s waterfront sauna moments later the smiles became to form as the heat brought them around.
“When you come out of cold water you feel more alive than anything else,” he said. “You don’t worry about anything in there.”
He looks forward to the New Year’s tradition every year and is a firm believer events such as the polar dip attract a certain amount of kindred souls. While it’s mostly family and friends in the Steady Brook area who show up each year, the offer is extended to anyone who wants to come along for a fun-filled day.
See video of the dip by clicking here
“People just love that rush, that excitement and the comraderie of it,” he said. “In there everyone is friends. There’s no enemies in there and you don’t worry about mortgages or life or anything, all you are worried about is getting back out.”
An animated character, White actually enjoys seeing the painful expressions on the faces of people as they exit the water, but he’s quick to treat them to a hot chocolate and a bowl of chilli for being brave. All hands head to the doctor’s house to ring in the New Year once the feeling returns to their bodies.
“I brought a little bit of Ireland to Newfoundland,” he said.
A temperate of three degrees and calm waters made it bearable for most folks, including Steady Brook resident Nick Hogan, a former college swimming star, who was back for his second-straight event.
“It was pretty good. Oh, it was chilly, but better than last year though,” Hogan said.
Hogan was impressed with the growing numbers the annual event has been able to attract.
“It’s a great tradition to keep and it’s twice as big as last year so it’s getting there,” he said.
Kirby Hamlyn was back for his second one in two years and he thought the water was pretty cold although he figured White would say otherwise.
He felt it was a great atmosphere for kicking off 2013.
“It’s all good. Family and friends,” Hamlyn said.
Next year, no doubt, White hopes to see the numbers rise again because he feels people will be so happy they gave it a go.
Until then, don’t be alarmed if you see a smiling face making waves along the shoreline of the Humber River. It’s a safe bet it’s White just enjoying life to the fullest.