POINT LOOKOUT, N.Y. — A handful of Long Island residents plunged into freezing ocean waters for an annual polar plunge on New Year’s Day.

Known as Polar Bear plunges, group swims are common traditions at locations across the United States and Canada during the colder parts of the year. Newsday reports a number of Long Island Polar Bear plunges were canceled in recent weeks due to the extreme cold gripping the nation.

It was so cold at Point Lookout that ice caked the sandy beach, and snow was swept up against the dunes. Despite the cold, six plungers made their way into the water before quickly retreating after making the plunge.

Participant Kevin Halpin says he’s taken the plunge for the past 13 years, and “it’s a great way to start the new year.”

Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com

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