On the very first "Cold Stroke Classic" in Wrightsville Beach, NC, it was cold. Very cold. It was January after all.
One of the participants remembers it this way: "Two people actually wore survival suits. Most wore wetsuits with jackets over them. It was around freezing, but still, some people acted like this was some kind of nutty Polar Bear Club dare."
Turns out, no matter the outside temperature, it's actually not so cold when you stand on a board in the ocean and work your muscles as hard as you can, paddle-racing seven miles around an island. Who knew?