West Seattle Polar Bear Swim 2013, report #2: The people

(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
As the first day of 2013 comes to an end, a closer look at some of the people who started it with a brisk tradition – West Seattle’s annual Polar Bear Swim on Alki. Though hundreds dashed into Puget Sound together, for each one, it was a very personal type of triumph. Above, Andrew Kurtz‘s fist-pump; next, Lisa Hayden‘s spirited wave as she emerged:

Charlie Duncan and Steve Douglas were pumped up even before they went in:

More of WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams‘ Polar Bear Swim scenes – before, during, and after – ahead:

Costumes, makeup, and/or masks were the order of the day for some – check the luchadore masks:

Marina Kosenko and friends looked battle-ready:

Pre-swim, Susan Kelleher put finishing touches on her outfit:

And speaking of costumes – that looked like “Orca Man” offshore:

Of course, all you really needed was a bathing suit – Keri Watson and Jamie Blair sported the basics:

… as did many in the water-bound lineup:

Once in, whatever you were wearing – even a Happy New Year tiara – most likely, you decided fairly quickly to get back out:

Andrew, seen at the top of this story, helped Anna Friedman get dried off afterward:

Then it was time to warm up – hot chocolate, clam chowder, or even just a reminder that while a tropical island might be nice, it wouldn’t have scenery like this:

And for those who ask “what’s the point?” – organizer Mark Ufkes summed it up in his announcement last month: “It is a great way to wash away the complexities of the previous year, and celebrate the unlimited potential that awaits each of us in the new year. Year after year, Polar Bear swimmers declare that this ritual creates a sense of renewal, and helps make the new year stronger and more positive.”

8 Replies to "West Seattle Polar Bear Swim 2013, report #2: The people"

  • LuAnn January 2, 2013 (9:22 am)

    EYEGLASSES LOST: New to Seattle area and first time West Seattle Polar Bear Swim 2013! Wonderful experience for daughter and I. So exhilarating in fact, dove into water with glasses emerged without glasses and didn’t realize until coat and hat were back on and viewed family’s iphone photos to track steps! Back into water, with coat, to search. A lot colder second time ;-) (Stood farthest western end of line). Anyway, if by some chance anyone came across a pair of black w/ thin white lined framed Alain Mikli glasses with transistion lesnes will be greatful if you leave a comment or a suggestion of who to contact. Thank You! Next year, I’ll be the one squinting. Peace*Health*Humor in the New Year


    • WSB January 2, 2013 (9:51 am)

      Sorry to hear it, LuAnn! Good idea to post it in comments here – and you might also consider posting in the WSB Forums https://westseattleblog.com/forum – which is where we point people with lost/found announcements (except for pets, which have their own page). Good luck! – TR

  • gayle January 2, 2013 (10:13 am)

    What a fantastic event it was! Thanks to all who organized it.

    Is there an estimate of the number who braved the waters? I’d read that a few hundred took part last year and the goal for this year was 1,000. Seemed like a big crowd and very spirited too.:)

    Happy New Year!

    Gayle (aka the Happy Moo Year Cow)

  • Vstrom January 2, 2013 (1:45 pm)

    Thanks for the fun time and cup of chowder at the end.

  • lina January 2, 2013 (8:47 pm)

    it was so awesome! a new tradition is born for me and i look forward to next year!

  • LuAnn January 2, 2013 (11:40 pm)

    Thank you for the suggestion TR!

  • Rumbles January 3, 2013 (1:12 am)

    Orcaman made it!!!! Yay!!!

  • bestbets January 3, 2013 (5:32 pm)

    That was fun! Thanks to Duke’s for the chowder :).

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