This past Saturday, on the 15th of December, the Wave Waterpark in Vista opened up it’s gates for its first annual free Polar Plunge. Visitors were ushered by the Wave’s amiable lifeguards to the top of the icy tower where the mouths of four twisting slides awaited the brave. Each of the slides had its own unique quality, some open and some closed, but all ended in the same 3 foot deep splash pool of chilly water. There were 151 brave soles that took the Polar Plunge.
“I came here to see my kids get cold,” said one parent said with a laugh “it’s just a great opportunity for the kids to have a good time and I feel like its just great for the whole community.”
Children and parents alike lined up to experience this quick, yet fulfilling treat. Excitement filled the air while those who were waiting in line discussed their apprehension (or lack thereof) for the coming plunge into the icy bath. One by one they descended and landed in the pool below with a great splash. Each emerged with a wide smile and chattering teeth.
“Even if you don’t like the cold, it’s still worth it,” says lifeguard Mika Barbosa, “Once you go down the slide you get a certificate, a water bottle, a free chapstick, and then you get a free ticket into the 2019 summer season,”
Despite the overflow of free goodies, there were many more purchasables available. Season passes were on sale for $54 each instead of the usual $74 and there was a raffle for those who were feeling extra lucky. Prizes ranged from various summer season Wave passes to tickets for a night at the Moonlight Amphitheatre. Most importantly, however, was that for $2, cold plungers could choose between a tall cup of coffee or Hot chocolate.
“I can’t take credit for this,” said Therron Dieckmann, director of Recreation and Community Services, “the wave waterpark staff are the ones who came up with it. After that we talked about it and then together we came up with the final version. Honestly, we’ve been looking for ways to activate the space more since it’s only open during the summer. We don’t get enough people to sustain during the winter, kids go back to school, and then we can’t get enough lifeguards to maintain the park full time. This is kind of a publicity stunt to raise awareness for the Wave Waterpark during the off season, plus, to bring awareness to the season pass holiday sale that comes around this Monday and of course it’s real special to bring people out to have a good time.”