‘It reminds me of how awesome my small community is’

Lincolnville Beach polar dippers defy record-breaking cold during annual Dip 4 Derek

Posted:  Monday, January 1, 2018 - 4:15pm

LINCOLNVILLE BEACH – Baring skin in defiance to an arctic blast that left even the driest spectators wind-slapped and hurting, a small group of extra warm-blooded souls ran into Lincolnville’s corner of the Atlantic at noon on New Year’s Day.

As a powerful nod to donation recipient Derek O’Brien, an area native paralyzed from a swimming accident in 2005, today’s water runners rushed through the same temperatures and waves that hundreds of polar dippers in Portland avoided due to postponement of a different fundraising event.

“It’s just amazing to see that people actually came out for this,” said O’Brien, who happens to live in Portland. “It blows my mind every year to see people come. But when it’s this cold, to see people come, that’s even better.”

According to him, this is the coldest day that the Dip 4 Derek Challenge has been held.

At 11:30 a.m., negative-degree temperatures, combined with wind gusts, kept participants and spectators car-bound until six minutes prior to noon. At that time, they made haste to the half-enclosed hut and huddled in noon’s zero degrees.

The wind, by then, had subsided, and the sun shown, yet the ocean vapors rising in the background still proved that the ocean temperature was warmer than the air.

“It reminds me of how awesome my small community is,” he said. “I don’t think you’d see this in any other town.”

For those who still want to donate, make checks out to the "Derek O'Brien Trust," and mail to Peter Roper (Polar Bear Challenge manager) at 10 Spring St., Camden.

See pictures from the 2015 Dip 4 Derek 

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com