Micky Gehl pretends to be a polar bear at Tofino’s 9th annual Polar Bear Swim on Jan. 1 at North Chesterman Beach. Mom Lindsay Gehl happily played along too. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

WATCH: 2019 Tofino and Ucluelet Polar Bear Swims

West Coasters dive into the New Year with a chilly ocean swim.

About 30 Uclutians welcomed the New Year by charging into chilly waters at Little Beach. The event usually takes place at different spots around town, and was started in ‘99 to celebrate entering a new millennium.

The town’s new mayor Mayco Noël participated for the first time.

“Happy New Year to everyone in town and what a great turnout today. It’s a first for me so 2019 is going to be a first for a lot of things. Happy New Year everyone,” he said after taking the frosty plunge.

Later on in the day, a stampede of polar bear swimmers took over North Chesterman Beach for Tofino’s 9th annual Polar Bear Swim. Once again, the Surfrider Pacific Rim Foundation hosted the event, providing hot chocolate and bonfires for all. Tofino Yoga was also onsite offering beach yoga.

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