San Francisco strips down for New Year’s Day

New Year's Day 2020 also marks the beginning of a new decade. In San Francisco, some people decided to ring in the new year wearing as little as possible.

From the chilly waters of the Bay and the Pacific Ocean, to Union Square's ice-skating rink, it seems some people are warming up to the idea of a new year by stripping down.

The new year came with a brisk wake up call for the brave Olympic Club members, who rang in the New Year with the annual hike and dip into the chilly waters off Ocean Beach, keeping alive a very long tradition. "It's a tradition that started in 1894," said Tom Montross from the Olympic Club. "People gathered together here, and did a little jog down the beach, and then they jumped into the ocean."

A few hours later an even larger contingent gathered at Great Highway and Taraval Street, ready to partake in the Polar Plunge.

Some got ready with a hot beverage, while others kept the party going from last night with a little bubbly on the beach, saying they know from previous experience what to expect. "Cold," said one participant who was sipping sparkling wine. Asked if the alcohol helps the answer was "Not at all, but cheers!" 

And with that hundreds plunged into the Pacific wearing only their swimsuits, others wearing even less.

Coming out of the water these polar plungers came out ready to greet the new year, and the new decade. 'I'm starting a new position at work, so I'm excited about that. Just saying 'yes' to things more, like this. And, yeah, just trying to start off on the right foot," said Jennifer De Leon. 

For some, the chilly waters of the Pacific weren't quite cold enough.  A handful of hearty competitors took to the rink at Union Square, showing off their ice-skating  skills, and competing for who has the best beach attire to ring in the New Year.

"This year, I'm taking it to the next level, cause the game out here is really, really strong," said Joe Houston. "A lot of people come out and do that thing. So, this year I took it to another level. I am Captain New Year."

For those who hit the water, it wasn't just cold, there was an element of danger. A high surf advisory remains in effect for the Bay Area coastline until 9 a.m. Thursday.