West Seattle New Year’s Day 2014: Biggest Polar Bear Swim ever

January 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm | In Holidays, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 9 Comments

(First two photos by Craig Young)
Looked to us like the biggest Alki Beach New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim yet!

Organizer Mark Ufkes (below) thought that was a fair assessment.

(This and subsequent photos/video by WSB’s Patrick Sand unless otherwise credited)
Here’s our video as the hundreds of participants took the plunge from 42-degree air into 46-degree water:

12:42 PM: More photos added, ahead:

Of course there were costumes – in bright green, Cthulhu and friends stood out:

And as mentioned here last night, the softball-umpires contingent:

Duke’s, across Alki Avenue, provided chowder afterward – and Duke (Moscrip) himself was on hand:

Still reviewing photos; here’s a Flickr gallery from Russ Walker, among the swimmers again this year.


  1. So, Patrick; next year video from the in the water perspective? ;-)



    Comment by miws — 1:59 pm January 1, 2014 #

  2. A dude there had gopro headcam

    Comment by Admiral935 — 2:23 pm January 1, 2014 #

  3. FYI Polar Bear Plunge

    Comment by Jim Mercure — 2:25 pm January 1, 2014 #

  4. Thanks everyone for attending. Biggest crowd ever, about 500 Polar Bear plungers. Thanks Duke for the great clam chowder. Sorry about not having hot chocolate this year. On my way down, the two gallons of hot chocolate tipped over and spilled inside my van. Sure smelled nice, but what a mess. Since, clearly I do not have the capacity to get two gallons of hot chocolate safely to Alki, maybe someone else can arrange it. The crowd, especially the kids, would really appreciate it. And as we look towards the new year, remember, the grass is greener on your side of the fence. Living in Seattle, we all won the lottery that really matters. Happy New Year everyone.

    Mark Ufkes

    Comment by Mark Ufkes — 4:10 pm January 1, 2014 #

  5. The umpires had a GREAT time at the plunge! We’re always looking for folks to join us in the fun – training starts in 3 weeks – smsua.org!

    Comment by Kayleen Dunson — 4:44 pm January 1, 2014 #

  6. Next year!

    Comment by Buckeye — 7:02 pm January 1, 2014 #

  7. Thanks, Mark! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

    Comment by Tony Martinez — 8:20 pm January 1, 2014 #

  8. Happy New Year Everyone!!! I think its great to see everyone braving the cold Puget Sound and coming together with their pale bodies on display…who cares right? We are all humans with the desire to live into another year and never give up hope!!!

    Happy New Year Happy New Year Happy New Year Happy New Year Happy New Year

    Comment by sarah — 8:28 am January 2, 2014 #

  9. https://vimeo.com/83271056
    video from Sunday’s plunge.

    Comment by Matt Sellars — 5:41 pm January 2, 2014 #

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