It was noon on a cloudy and windy January 1st. Scores of people gathered on Mill Bay Beach. It was 14 degrees outside, but the 30-mile an hour winds brought the wind chill temperature to -14. Kodiak’s own new year’s tradition- the polar plunge.
30 people sporting bright pink t-shirts jumped into the dangerously cold water, and they didn’t do it for fun. They did it for a cause.
“It kind of evolved out of I have a member that’s a former Navy SEAL. And then a bunch of girls that are really crazy. It kind of escalated from there,” Knight said.
That’s Lindsay Knight, owner of the Kodiak Athletic Club. He along with 30 members of his gym took the plunge, doing it as a charity event for Kodiak Women’s Resource and Crisis Center. Knight had t-shirts made for the group. According to him, they’ve already collected over $500 with more coming in day by day.
Ambika Srivastava is one of the event organizers.
“Lindsay and I were working out one morning and I was telling him how I’ve done 12 Polar plunges all last year with my friends, just for fun. We did one each month. And then I started convincing him and another fellow gym member to do the Polar Plunge with me,” Srivastava said.
They started recruiting other gym members in early December, and their ranks swelled pretty quickly. Which is remarkable, considering the frigid conditions.
“It was pretty terrible. I think this is the roughest one I’ve done. I had started doing it last January- I had actually missed the original Polar Plunge and so I decided to do it a few days later when I arrived into Kodiak a year ago. But this one had to be the most brutal one… I told everyone else to make it more Instagrammable, and go all the way in and dunk my head. That did not happen. It was so cold I could barely think as soon as I hit the water and I was like ‘okay, dunk, and out,” Srivastava said.
Those interested in contributing to their fundraising effort can reach out to the Kodiak Athletic Club online.