There are several Polar Bear and Penguin challenge levels so you can choose the level to suit you.
If in doubt then enter one level above that which you feel comfortable at as you can always drop down a level as the challenge progresses but can't go up. Each month you will be emailed an online form to complete to confirm your swims. No proof of swims or distances is required (other than for Jedi / Ninja / Apprentice specified swims ) as this is an honesty event.
Gold or Arctic / Antarctic is the best one to aim for if you are undecided as the higher Jedi and Ninja levels are VERY onerous as they require you to swim a number of specified swims in water below 7 degrees - The UK sea temperature rarely falls below 7 degrees so to achieve these levels you will need to travel or find a fresh water swimming area which drops to the required temperature.
For NOVEMBER ONLY - If you complete a higher level than that which you entered then you will be raised to that level. You will subsequently drop levels accordingly in the future months if needs be but this gives you a chance to check your boundaries. NB This rule does not apply to Jedi / Ninja / Apprentice levels.
Polar Bears may only wear a standard swimsuit ( non thermal, must not extend over the shoulders or below the knees ) and a single silicone, latex or fabric hat as well as goggles, noseclips and earplugs. NOTHING ELSE - No shoes, No boots, No gloves, No fancy hats, Nothing on your feet or hands or head except that already specified., hat and goggles.
Penguins may wear anything they wish including gloves, boots or a full wetsuit.
As the Challenge progresses through to March you may drop down levels if you wish but you cannot go up ( after November ). You may swap from Polar Bear to Penguin but not vice versa.
You must be 18 or over to enter any of the challenge levels.
E.g. you can enter as Gold, Arctic or Jedi and slide down through Silver to Classic if the going gets tough. But you can’t enter as Classic and then upgrade to Gold…
The swims must be swum outdoors in the sea, river, lake or unheated lido.
For Polar Bears all swims must be swum in just a swimsuit, single hat, googles, noseclips and earplugs ( if required ).
Please read the FAQs to make sure your body of water falls within the rules.
CLASSIC POLAR BEAR or PENGUIN - dip, dunk, bob up to you shoulders twice a month - no distance required.
SILVER POLAR BEAR or PENGUIN - swim 250 metres twice a month
GOLD POLAR BEAR or PENGUIN - swim 250 metres twice a month and complete 1000 metres minimum total distance each month during the challenge period inclusive of the 2 x 250 m.
ARCTIC POLAR BEAR / ANTARCTIC PENGUIN - swim 250 metres twice a month and complete 3000 metres total distance each month during the challenge period inclusive of the 2 x 250 m.
The Jedi and Ninja levels are VERY onerous and require you to swim a number of specified swims in water below 7 degrees.
The UK sea temperature rarely falls below 7 degrees so to achieve these levels you will need to travel or find a fresh water swimming area which drops to the required temperature.
JEDI POLAR BEAR APPRENTICE / NINJA PENGUIN APPRENTICE - Click HERE for info on Jedi & Ninja & Apprentice levels
JEDI POLAR BEAR / NINJA PENGUIN - swim 250 metres twice a month and complete 3000 metres total distance each month.
In addition to become a Jedi Bear or Ninja Penguin you must also complete ALL the following specified swims at some point during the challenge period. They follow a logical & recommended progression but don't have to be swum in any specific order ....PLEASE NOTE - for Jedi swim at 7.00 degrees or less you will need to send in photographic evidence of the temperature on two thermometers - DIGITAL thermometers are recommended but you may use mercury thermometers as long as they CLEARLY show the temperature to be BELOW that specified. N.B. the temperature MUST show on BOTH thermometers to be the required chilliness.
1500 metres at 9.00 degrees or less
2000 metres at 9.00 degrees or less
1250 metres at 8.00 degrees or less
1750 metres at 8.00 degrees or less
1000 metres at 7.00 degrees or less
1500 metres at 7.00 degrees or less
750 metres at 6.00 degrees or less
1250 metres at 6.00 degrees or less
450 metres at 5.00 degrees or less
1000 metres at 5.00 degrees or less
NB - 1. The specified swims can be included in the 3000 metres total
NB - 2. There must be a minimum of 24 hours between each of the specified swims.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR JEDI BEARS AND NINJA PENGUINS.
This is an extreme challenge which should only be attempted by experienced cold water swimmers and a medical check up is advised.
UK temperatures may not get low enough to complete the challenge in the UK so some travel at your own expense may be necessary.
Several of the Jedi swims are individual qualifying swims for an Ice Mile attempt under IISA rules. Please refer to the IISA website for more information on Ice Miles https://www.internationaliceswimming.com/