The Polar Bear Challenges and Penguin Challenges run from 1 November to 31 March and the aim is to complete a set number of dips or swims and distances outdoors in the sea, river, lake or unheated lido during this period over the winter. All successful finishers will receive a certificate, a sew on badge and a medal.
The Polar Bear Challenge is run under the clothing rules of the International Ice Swimming Association and the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation which means that the only attire allowed is one standard swimsuit ( which may not extend over the shoulders or below the knees ), a single standard silicone or latex swimhat ( no bubble or fancy hats), goggles, noseclips and earplugs if required.
For the Penguin Challenge there are no clothing rules - you can wear whatever you like including wetsuit. gloves, boots etc..
Extreme Penguin is a sub section of the Penguin Challenge - to qualify as Extreme Penguin you have to follow the same clothing rules as Polar Bear BUT you ARE allowed to wear anything you like on you extremities ONLY. That means you can wear anything you like on your head, hands and feet ONLY. Nothing other than a normal swimsuit which does not cover your shoulders or extend beyond your knees may be worn on your torso. Extreme Penguins receive the same medal and badge as standard Penguin but are recognised as Extreme on the swim lists and on the certificate.
Please read the FAQs.
Swimmers from all countries are welcome to take part but your winter swimming temperatures must be no higher than UK winter swimming temperatures.
YOU MUST BE 18 OR OVER TO TAKE PART IN THE POLAR BEAR OR PENGUIN CHALLENGE AT ANY LEVEL OTHER THAN CLASSIC
How it works - enter the Challenge by choosing your Challenge level and registering with EventBrite.
Info on the Challenge levels is here Polar Bear & Penguin Challenge Levels
Swim the swims relevant to your chosen level in your own time but make sure that you complete all the required swims and distances each month. You do not need to provide evidence of your swims other than for the Jedi or Ninja or Apprentice swims at 7.00 degrees or less in which case a photograph of two thermometers recording the temperature needs to be submitted.
At the end of each month an online form will be emailed to you to complete and return confirming that you have completed that month's swims. The forms will remain open for 6 weeks after whcih time I will presume you have dropped out of the challenge if I haven't heard from you. There's also a facebook group so you can join in with the other Polar Bear & Penguin swimmers and share pics and stories and get information.
You'll receive regular weekly emails from MamaBear with hints and tips - especially in the run up to the start of the Challenge - and I'm always here to give advice should you need it.
Except for the Penguin Challenge only a swimsuit, single silicone hat, goggles and earplugs may be worn. No neoprene, wetsuits, boots or gloves may be worn.
When your final March swim is done you will receive a sew on badge and a certificate and a medal.