What’s up with Bellingham’s Mid-Winter, Open-Water Swimming?

Oh, it’s practically mainstream in Bellingham nowadays! And it’s easy to understand why: IT’S SOOO GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!

Yes yes, more and more people (admittedly MOSTLY women) have been taking to the waters of Bellingham Bay, Lake Padden, and any other near-frozen body of water for some good old-fashioned Polar Plunging!

The GIF below was shot during last winter’s “Snowmageddon”. Video by Jaime Moore.

NOTE: These swimmers above who are obviously not in wetsuits, have SLOWLY, OVER TIME, over MANY immersions, become acclimated to the cold water. This is not a one-time stunt by ANY stretch of the imagination.

No mention of cold water immersion would be complete without a nod to the cold-water king, Wim Hof, aka The Ice Man.

Wim preaches and teaches the benefits including boosted cardiovascular circulation, reduced tissue inflammation, and increased metabolism (weight loss).

Plus, who among us doesn’t acknowledge the benefits of doing something every day that makes you uncomfortable?!

That’s what Gavin Jones and his dad Brad do. This GIF was shot last winter by Brad.

Not everyone who’s doing this sport goes so….. lightly dressed. Another option is to pull on a wetsuit, booties and gloves. That’s the approach my buddies and I prefer (thus far).

To ensure we don’t get totally soft, we try to at least be in the water before first light. Water temps are in the low 40’s, air temps are at or near freezing.

But again… when you’re moving, you’re making your own heat, and the wetsuits these days are AMAZING!

The experience is invigorating and although I would like to get cold-water-acclimated over time, for now this “instant gratification” wetsuit method is fine for me!

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