SURREY — Are you thick-skinned enough to join the so-called Mad Hatter’s Swim Club?
The club is reserved for those brave enough to do the “Triple Crown” of local swims on New Year’s Day – that is, the events in White Rock, Surrey and Vancouver.
One catch: The chilly swim at Surrey’s Crescent Rock Beach must be done in the nude, with photographic proof.
The original Mad Hatters, a pair of local women, completed the three swims in 2008.
In 2014, Surrey’s Don Pitcairn joined the club, while five people completed the feat without submitting photos.
Club members are saluted at Skinnydipper.ca, a website operated by Skinnydipper Recreation Club.
The club is co-promoted by Surrey’s United Naturists, or SUN, online at Crescentrockbeach.org.
The timing of the White Rock Polar Bear Swim (at noon), the Polar Bare Plunge at Crescent Rock Beach (1 p.m.) and Vancouver’s English Bay (2:30 p.m.) allows for the ‘triple crown’ of polar bear swims to be completed in just 2.5 hours on New Year’s Day.
Registration starts at 11 a.m. for the 46th annual event in White Rock, held east of the pier. Coffee, hot chocolate and hot dogs will be sold at the event, presented by Rotary clubs covering White Rock and South Surrey.
The “Nude Year” event at Crescent Rock Beach, located in South Surrey, is a clothing-optional swim, organizers say. To get to the beach, walk south from the public Crescent Beach 100 metres past the “101 Steps” elevated metal walkway, or take these stairs located at the very west end of 24th Avenue.
Event entry is free, but participants and spectators are encouraged to bring cash donations benefiting the War Amps PLAYSAFE and CHAMPS childhood amputee programs, highlighting the danger to pedestrians trespassing on the adjacent BNSF railway.
“Your one-button bathing suit is the usual attire for this clothing-optional, swim but Santa hats, fake antlers, body paint and limited festive garments are always appreciated, keeping in mind that less is often more,” reads a memo from event organizers. “Foot protection, including secured sandals or aquatic shoes, are highly recommended to help with footing on the small rocks before the sand flats.”
In Delta, the 36th annual Polar Bear Madness swim will be held at Boundary Bay Regional Park on Jan. 1, starting at 1 p.m.