Plunging for a good cause

KAPAA — The key to jumping into a bath of ice water is not to look so you can’t see you are indeed about to jump into a bath of ice water.

Blindness is bliss.

Or at least that’s Eusepio Sio’s secret to braving a polar plunge, which he did on Saturday along with about 45 other adventure-seeking souls at Kapaa Beach Park to benefit the Special Olympics Kauai.

“Close your eyes and leap,” said Sio, who described the sensation of jumping into a pool of ice as “a real quick numb.” “Do the leap of faith, it will be worth it. Plus, it’s for a good cause.”

The third annual event topped its $5,000 goal, said Jocelyn Barriga, director of Special Olympics Kauai.

“This is our biggest crowd so far,” she said, looking at the throngs of people who came to scale the 22-foot slide and the onlookers there to cheer.

Those included Special Olympic athlete Frankie Green, 14, who bowls and runs track and field and can now claim polar plunging as one of his activities.

He plunged Saturday for the first time and described the sensation as “trying to catch my breath.”

“It was good,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad.”

For $75, anyone could make the polar plunge, which is a more traditional events in places where it snows, hence the word polar. But the Hawaiian version had a pool and a whole lot of ice cubes.

Plunger Dan Finer said it felt good, and he can see why athletes hit the ice tub after big workouts.

“I jumped in and am glad I came,” he said. “Anything to support special needs.”

For Shealyn Freitas, she said her reaction to the water at first, and after, was ‘ahhh.’

“When you come out it’s like ‘ahhh,’” she said, using the word in the relaxing sense as she stood under the sun after it was over. Describing initial impact, though, and there’s more vigor behind it: “But when you first go in it’s like, ‘ahhhh!’” she said.

After the morning plunges, people milled about the park and ate food while items were raffled off.

“We got lucky. The rain didn’t come,” Barriga said of the event, attended by more than 100 people. “We’re just grateful for the support Kauai gives us.”

• Tom Hasslinger, managing editor, can be reached at 245-0427 or


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