Annual Polar Leap held at Barton Springs Pool New Year's Day

The sound of chattering teeth filled the air New Year’s Day at the Barton Springs Pool,  as many kicked off 2016 by plunging into the water for the Annual Polar Bear Leap.

This wintry dip has become a tradition for many Austinites.

The temperature of the pool water is 68 to 70 degrees year round, so the water wasn’t too cold, but the temperature was a chilly 45 degrees Friday morning. “The water is actually not too bad, it's being out here in the air is what's really cold,” said Polar Plunger Paul Bayarena.

This is the 36th year for the event and it continues to be a favorite of New Year's morning events. “Typical Austin flare you know? People coming out and having a good time,” Bayarena said.

People jumped in solo, backwards, in groups, and as families. “We live real close, so we grabbed the whole family and jumped in. It's invigorating, it's a great way to start the year,” said one Polar Plunger.

Harry Lipp has his own yearly tradition at the event. He tries to trick people by falling in full clothed. “I’m known for doing crazy stuff here. I’ve done it in years past. I had a nice suit on one year, really nice, like I came for church. Actually, it's kind of warm to get in there with your clothes on, it's like having a wet suit on, it's a lot warmer,” he said.

Former Mayor Lee Leffingwell was this year’s special guest.


FOX 7 Editor Noelle and Photographer Cornelio also took the plunge.


First yr doing the polar bear jump.

A photo posted by Cornelio (@hardycorn) on


It was a busy morning at Barton Springs. Check out all these Instagram posts.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent


FOX 7 News streams at the following times (all times Central):

Monday - Friday

4:30 a.m. - 10 a.m.

12 p.m. - 12:30 p.m.

5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

9 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.


6 a.m. - 8 a.m.

5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Schedule subject to change in the event of network sports coverage.

We also stream press conferences and other breaking news coverage from time to time. When we are not in a live newscast, you will see replays of the most recent broadcast.

To enter full screen Mode click the button.

For closed captioning, click on the button while in full screen mode.

Desktop/tablet users: To choose the stream's video quality, click on the button (while in full screen mode) and choose from 432p or 270p.

Mobile users:The video quality default is to your phone's settings.

Please allow time for buffering. If the stream stalls, refresh your browser. Thanks for watching

Stories You May Be Interested In - Includes Advertiser Stories