2020 Polar Plunges – Manzanita “cancelled” – Many Still Plunge; Tillamook YMCA at Cape Lookout


“The ocean was big that day, my friend” would be the caption for January 1, 2020.
The word went out on social media early that the Manzanita Polar Plunge was “cancelled.” What started as a bunch of friends jumping in the ocean on New Year’s Day, has become “the” polar plunge in recent years attracting hundreds to Neahkahnie Beach. Early on January 1st, Janice Gaines-Ehlen from the original group, shared this post:
“PLEASE SHARE! Happy New Years to all! We have been soooo lucky all these years and we all knew this day would come. It seems that is most prudent for the plunge to be CANCELLED for today. The ocean is very alive and rambunctious and starting its New Decade out with a bang. I will be on the beach to greet those that show up and well you get points for that. My suggestion is to come back on a mellower day and do the plunge even if its just with a friend or two. Post it on FB and share with North County News! Please share with others and remember:
IF YOU NEVER HAVE YOU SHOULD, THESE THINGS ARE FUN AND FUN IS GOOD! Stay healthy, kind and grateful!” – Janice Gaines-Ehlen

BUT – as Dave Dillon’s caption said on the North County News Facebook page later that day, “Nevertheless they persisted. While the annual, informal, totally unofficial, Manzanita Polar Plunge 2020 was cancelled out of concern for dangerous waves, the crowds still showed up this morning and jumped in the ocean.”

Photo by Dave Dillon, North County News

From Janice Gaines-Ehlen, later in the afternoon on January 1st, “I want to personally apologize for making the decision to say the Polar Plunge was cancelled. I should have just said be very careful and have fun! It is not MY plunge to say anything really. It is a public event that many come to do together and enjoy. A few original “plungers” and myself made the call only because we were concerned about your safety and I think that was a correct train of thought. We were doing what we thought was right. No one wanted to see anyone get swept out to sea and that is a real concern. For those of you who did not come to the plunge (many did plunge), I suggest going tomorrow morning and making up for it. I promise it will count! Please share if you do and we will make a fuss 🙂
The Plunge has a life of its own… Have a Great New Year!”


Meanwhile, the Polar Plunge in Tillamook, sponsored by the Tillamook County Family YMCA, held at Cape Lookout State Park day use area scheduled at 10 am went on. There was some confusion that both polar plunges were “cancelled”, but the earlier start time, was still an incoming tide, and the local fire department was on hand – along with numerous life guards from the Y. There are always as many spectators as plungers, and most quickly dip and dash back to the warming fire.