West Seattle New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim 2019 at Alki Beach is on!

(January 1, 2018, photo by Robert Spears)

For everyone who’s been asking/wondering about this – Mark Ufkes has just sent the announcement: The West Seattle New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim is on again, January 1, 2019, at Alki Beach:

There is no better way to wash away the complexities of 2018 and usher in the unlimited possibilities that 2019 holds for each of us than to run into Puget Sound, while holding hands with our family and friends and screaming like crazy.

We go into the water at 10 am sharp! Don’t be late.

We gather at 9:45 am on January 1 in front of Duke’s on Alki. We spread out east and west along beautiful Alki Beach in a long line. There will be 10-minute, 5-minute and 1-minute warnings, and at 10 seconds, together, we all begin counting down; 10-9-8-7 . . .

We then yell “Happy New Year,” hold hands with those next to us, and run into the water. It is all over in less than a minute.

Last year, well over 500 participated and a huge crowd cheered us on.

Again this year, all are encouraged to wear something pink into the water. You can wear pink for whatever reason you want; be it to honor your spectacular mom, to honor a dear friend who is fighting cancer, or to celebrate that finally, in 2019, girls will be able to become Eagle Scouts too (Yeah!). For me, I will be wearing pink for all these reasons and because for the first time in U.S. history, a state house legislative body, in Nevada no less, will have a women-majority legislature.

Whatever your personal reason, if you wear something pink into the water you will earn a gift. The first 200 people who wear something pink into the water will receive a free airport-confiscated wine bottle opener corkscrew that I won at a TSA auction. And hey kids, if you wear something pink, your parents must take charge of your free corkscrew and offer you something in trade. After the swim, there will be a table at the beach full of every kind of corkscrew you can imagine. Every swimmer wearing something pink can chose one as a gift.

What you should bring: Good water shoes, a large towel, a change of dry clothes, and your hopes and dreams for 2019.

What you should leave behind: Your fears, your inhibitions, and your self-doubt.

(See our 2018 video/photos here.) Adding to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide‘s New Year’s Day section along with the New Year’s Eve/Day walk info that’s also just come in – if you have something open to the community that’s happening in West Seattle/White Center/South Park between now and New Year’s Day, there’s still time to send it – westseattleblog@gmail.com – thank you!

8 Replies to "West Seattle New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim 2019 at Alki Beach is on!"

  • WSRes December 24, 2018 (10:30 pm)

    Once again politics are the theme with a list of suggested (ie allowable) beliefs. Is there anywhere we can just be independent individuals that can gather as a community? 

    • Mark Ufkes December 31, 2018 (3:20 pm)

      Ignore WSRES, he tends to be discouraging more often than not.  And he doesn’t participate anyway.  A splash into Puget Sound to celebrate your life  and your plans for the future is a great way to start 2019 free of the complexities of last year.  If you wear something pink, for whatever reason you want,  you will get a free TSA-confiscated corkscrew.  Look for the table near the water after the swim filled with hundreds of corkscrews.   Bring your friends and challenge your comfort zone.   You will be in the water less than a minute.  And the water will be warmer than the air around you.  Do it this year.  Come celebrate with hundreds of your neighbors.  The crowd makes the water feel less intimidating too.  See you there.   Mark Ufkes, “White Center ” of the Universe

  • Harlan December 27, 2018 (11:00 am)

    massive eyeroll… just show up and jump in the water with me, independently together! Believe in having and supporting a community that believes in a myriad of things.

  • Harlan December 27, 2018 (11:14 am)

    Come on, Just show up and jump in the water with me! Part of being a member of the community is respecting others beliefs even if you don’t relate to them. Wash away that mentality of separatism and start the new year as an individual AND a community member. :)

  • Karrie December 29, 2018 (12:26 pm)

    Hi. 🤗 Do you know if there is a hashtag used for the event? 

    • WSB December 29, 2018 (12:36 pm)


  • Len Shaw December 30, 2018 (12:55 pm)

    West Seattle High Class of 65 will be there with Bon Fire for those who have cold feet !!! Go Dawgs !!

  • Juan Carlos flores December 30, 2018 (10:19 pm)

    Alki beach pubWill be open new years eveWith happy hour specials all dayON NEW YEARS DAYTWO FOR ONE BREAKASTfrom 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.And also serving regular menu all dayAnd happy hour all day

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