Zorz Froze: New Year’s Day Swim

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Zorz Froze: New Year's Day Swim
Reading time: 4 mins

Calling all adventurous souls and bodies in the NYC metro area! Start off the New Year the way you’ve never had before by joining Zorz Froze team—or independently—for the New Year’s Day Swim organized by Coney Island Polar Bear Club. Sounds crazy? Make the year crazy!

Three ways to get involved:

  1. Join me for the swim in the ocean!! It’s not even going to be that cold (47°F) which is a bummer for me training for the winter swimming and wanting to show off (hey…)
  2. Come to just cheer me! Bring kids —my daughter will be there, as well as a big crowd of other fun and crazy semi-naked people. What a cool way to meet if we haven’t yet, or to hug a freezing friend!
  3. I am freezing for a reason: help my fundraising for the event beneficiary, Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. If you cannot come, show me your support by making a tax-deductible donation, which can never be too small. And, all donors will get a gift from the studio! Thanks to Zorz Studios’ kind clients and fans, Zorz Froze team has already raised $220! Open your hearts and wallets here.

There is no required fee for swimmers and observers. Changing facilities will be provided by NYC Parks Dept. The event will take place in Coney Island on 01/01/16 at 1:00 PM on Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue. Parking will be free at MCU Park. Registered attendees will get a free admission to NY Aquarium. There will also be a post-swim celebration at the Coney Island Brewing Company and Peggy O’Neill’s Bar. More details and rules are here.

Check back for the updates and event photos. Hope to hear from you or even better, see you!! Let’s make the year fun, challenging, and memorable! 🙂 Go Zorz Froze team!

01/03/16 UPDATE

I did it! But, as I look back, I realize that you must spoil before you spin. This crowd plunge being my first, I made a few mistakes to fix next year!

TopDonors2Let me start with the positive, and that is a successful fundraiser in which Zorz Froze team raised $365, at some point being among the top teams! You can see a screenshot on the left before the final tally. I thank all kind hearts who not only cheered for me but also donated to benefit Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Overall, Camp Sunshine raised over $87,000, exceeding their goal.

As promised, I want to show my appreciation to the team donors by offering a personal gift which can be either of the following:

 – Free 2016 calendar featuring the coolest and baddest works of art by Zorz Studios in 2015, spanning all genres from boudoir to underwater to fashion to engagement/wedding photography.
– 20% discount from any new order, be it a wall portrait from an earlier session or a new package, even a wedding! This gift is non-transferrable and must be claimed within 60 days.

JoeyPasaoaNow, what could have gone better… I did not expect that the crowd would get so large, requiring better meeting arrangements. I had several friends, both swimming and supporting, miss me. I thought we would just spot each other and gather around. According to NYPD reports, there were more than 10,000 people and hundreds of swimmers. The organizers had to split us into five large “waves”. The only guys from the team who I managed to find were the legendary dancing pirates who made it to the cover of last year’s EngagEd contest, Judith (right) and Joey. Kudos to Judith for braving the water with me!

2015-12-31Next, I took it all too seriously… as an athlete who just started everyday winter swimming training and wanted to proudly join the ranks of like-minded tough athletes. I started this as a personal goal four months ago in early September and incrementally, brought my 5 AM routine to a 5-mile run and 1-km swim in the ocean (left, Garmin’s tracking from my New Year’s Eve activity). I’ve already gotten to swim in colder water with below freezing air temperature. So, I was pretty pumped to meet similar athletes but while they may have been in the crowd, the activities everyone cared about was not to swim but to scream, roar, jump around, and pose for at least a hundred of photographers. And I, with all my silly valor, ran past the vikings and sirens and started to paddle my kilometer like a madman, concerned about bumping into other swimmers who were non-existent… My only neighbors were kayaking guards who would smile and wave to me. I found a few photos online where I can see myself swimming and getting out of water, circled in red. I missed fun.

Although the weather was milder than normal for January (42°F / 5°C but with wind gusts up to 30 MPH), the environment was wild and as entertaining as New Year’s celebration, so the event was covered by lots of media, including New York Times cover story, NBCGothamist, Die Welt (Germany), etc.

Aside from that, I was beyond thrilled to participate and discover this crazy annual event. You bet I’ll do it again next time, being prepared not only physically but socially! I’ll just come and drag my friends along for pure fun, as it was intended to be. Here’s my concluding shot with a true supporter and inspirer, my daughter. As for my personal continued Polar Bear experience, it will only get tougher and more real with the coming Tuesday’s early morning air temperature of 18°F / -8°C. 🙂


Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov is a creative director and lead photographer of Zorz Studios, Manhattan-based boutique photography studio, offering arousing and daring fashion, commercial, beauty, and wedding photography. Multiple Fearless Photographer™ award winner, named among the top 50 US wedding photographers, top 10 NY wedding photographers, winner of Adobe contests, featured by Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle et al, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week photographer, and a distinguished member of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style‘s Platinum List, he is eager to step out of his and willing clients' comfort zone to pursue original artwork with a lasting impression.

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