Tasmania is home to the the annual Nude Solstice Swim, which sees hundreds of people strip naked and take to the brutally freezing waters of Hobart's Long Beach to celebrate the end of Dark Mofo. This year, I will be taking part in the event for the first time. I am not feeling prepared. When the reality that I'd be shrinking my bits in front of hundreds of strangers dawned on me, my friend Dani Leever came to mind. Not because I was thinking about her naked. Well, actually, I kind of was—Dani is a life model and has a habit of dancing naked at festivals like Burning Seed.
What is the difference between winter swimming and ice swimming?
What is polar bear swimming?
My family has a cottage up north in Newaygo, Michigan and every once and a while, in the winter, I will break the ice and brave the frigid waters for a few minutes. My body turns blue, head turns purple and feet turn bright pink…ah a successful polar bear dive! The air is getting colder here Grand Rapids, Michigan so I thought I would write a tribute to polar bear swimmers.
Weatherwatch: Extremely cool Iceman keeps his inner fire burning at -27C
Supposedly ice swimming is possible because the water beneath the ice releases heat, so the water does not instantly refreeze. Within this sport some swimmers use swimwear, others wear weird costumes like you see on Halloween, and over a third love jumping in the ice-cold water in their birthday suit. I guess, come to think of it, in sub-zero weather swimming trunks would probably not offer much protection from the cold anyway. Because this outdoor bathing or swimming occurs in the middle of winter and is unusual and sometimes ceremonial, it often times attracts media coverage. While few have pushed their bodies to the extreme level of Wim Hof, many have endured the sport of ice swimming for 20 years and more.
Wim Hof claims cold-water immersion can help fight modern diseases. As outdoor swimming becomes ever more popular in the UK, photojournalist Jonny Weeks joined him for a weekend to experience it firsthand. Wed 8 May An oak, Quercus robur. I go in. We are one. We are alive. Is that crazy? Bloody crazy!