WEST SEATTLE NEW YEAR’S DAY: 2023 Alki Polar Bear Swim is on

(1/1/22 photo by Scott Nelson)

Just in from organizer Mark Ufkes, word that the New Year’s Day Alki Polar Bear Swim is on again! Here’s his announcement in its entirety:

Alki Polar Bear Swim 2023
January 1, into the water at 10 am sharp

Life gets better each year, and there is, and always will be, a benefit to celebrating this reality. Since the beginning of time, humans all over the World have held ceremony at the New Year. It is an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and wash away the many frustrations and injuries that the previous year demanded of us.

And for us optimists out there, and those in our circle who suffer from our perpetually positive outlook, it is a chance to ask the Universe, in all its awe, for guidance and strength to make the New Year more significant than the previous one.

Some call our annual Alki Polar Bear Swim “the great washing.” Others call it the most challenging family-oriented adventure of the year. And for a few, it is simply another example that all of us humans have mild insanity and a need to prove it to an adoring crowd of fans who watch from the sidewalk.

Last year over 500 met at Alki for our grand entry into 47-degree Puget Sound. We were in and out of the water so fast that it was all over in less than a minute. And another crowd of hundreds watched and cheered as we proved again how great it is to be alive, in this still great city, and still great Democratic nation (even though many extreme Republicans seem to want to destroy it).

You all know the drill. We meet at Alki Beach across from Duke’s. We spread out up and down the beach with those we love and adore next to us, and after a count down from 10, 9, 8 …, we hold hands, start screaming and laughing, and run madly into the water as if our lives depend on it. As always, we go into the water at 10 am sharp, so don’t be late.

Bring good water shoes, a large towel, and warm clothes to dress in afterward. And as always, bring your hopes and dreams for the New Year and they will come true!

Last year, the water – 47 degrees, as Mark mentioned – was 22 degrees warmer than the air (25 degrees).

14 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE NEW YEAR'S DAY: 2023 Alki Polar Bear Swim is on"

  • John December 21, 2022 (8:08 pm)

    A video of the last one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lczhLz76BfY

  • Crazylady December 21, 2022 (8:17 pm)

    Some of us go in every Monday morning – stay for a bit. It’s fun. 🤣

    • WS resident December 23, 2022 (5:41 pm)

      Do you wear a wetsuit? The water was chilly in the middle of Summer, but after about 10 minutes, I adjusted and it was quite comfortable! With the air temps being so cold though, it’s a bit different!

      • Tom January 1, 2023 (11:57 am)

        Birthday suit.

    • Gillian December 31, 2022 (8:38 am)

      What time do you go in on monday mornings?

  • Raymund L Fernandez December 22, 2022 (3:49 pm)

    OMG! Maybe… Dave? Andy? Meade?

  • Ali Atri December 22, 2022 (7:28 pm)

    Yes! I’ve been looking forward to this all year! I’ll be there to plunge and also handing out 50% off discounts to visit We Sweat – the infrared sauna studio in North Admiral – for those who are looking to warm up after the big chill!

  • Leah December 23, 2022 (1:02 pm)

    Please tell me what “extreme Republicans” have to do with jumping into cold water??? Your insistence on inserting politics into the most apolitical of events is why I choose to jump at Lincoln Park.

    • MARK L UFKES December 31, 2022 (9:39 am)

      To everyone, including Leah:Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.  Go celebrate it with those you love and respect.  For those of you who want to do the Polar Bear Swim and haven’t yet, come on down to Alki at 9:45 am.  We go into the water at 10:00 sharp.  There will be a huge crowd to support you and everyone will be laughing and cheering as we go into the water.  The air will be 36 degrees tomorrow, so the water will be 10 degrees warmer than the air.  It will actually be warmer in the water and will make it more pleasant.   Trust me on this.  We’ve been doing it for decades.  You will have fun.   Sorry you are offended Leah by my annual political poke, it clearly hit a nerve with you.   But you can never be as  offended as the rest of us are, who saw the January 6 invasion of our Nation’s Capital for what it really was; an attempt to destroy our democracy by extremists who were fully embraced by Republican political leaders (and still are by many of them!).  The first step to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem.  Until Republicans like you accept that reality, and do something about it, instead of pouting and taking their towels to their own Polar Bear swim, the drifting Hard Right Republican party will remain a threat to our great nation.   And going to Lincoln Park?  Don’t damage Abe Lincoln’s good name, because, as a former member of the Lincoln Society in Washington DC when I lived there, and a student of Lincoln, I can assure you that he would not be a Republican now.  He might not be a Democrat either, but I know that he would be voting for more Democrats than Republicans at this stage in our country’s development.  Happy New Year everyone, including Republicans out there.   Even those with blinders on.   Mark L. Ufkes    

  • Ben December 31, 2022 (2:05 pm)

    Love you and thank you for doing this Mark! Tomorrow will be year 10 for me and, as usual, I find myself with filled with trepidation and dread over that moment we all go charging into the Sound on NYD. It’s this trepidation that leads to inevitable triumph, the biggest smiles, and a phenomenal start to every year! Can’t wait to hit the beach tomorrow!!! Cheers and Happy New Year to all (and peace)!

  • West Seattle resident December 31, 2022 (4:04 pm)

    Wow. What a sad response. Leah wasn’t wrong. This is such a great event. Why be so mean spirited and divisive?

  • uncle loco December 31, 2022 (5:04 pm)

    No thanks, you kids have fun.

  • Stanley January 1, 2023 (10:59 am)

    I like and depend on the WSB for events and information concerning West Seattle.  However, why is Mark Ufkes allowed to use the site as a political platform for his personal views?  I am very disappointed  that his posts are allowed on the site. The Polar bear plunge should be an announcement for just that and not include Mark’s political BS.

    • Al King January 1, 2023 (1:28 pm)

      Stanley. Ummmm….your comment is clearly your “political platform” for your personal views. Pot calling the kettle eh. Notice they let your comment on the site.

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