Who & Why

We absolutely LOVE swimming outdoors and we design swim gear that makes cold water dips more comfortable. Our products are made locally by people who care and the sustainability and integrity of these products is a vital part of who we are.

Here at Swim Feral, our mission is to inspire more people to connect with the landscape and dip their toes (and everything else) into the water.

To make that outdoor changing experience a bit more comfortable Jamima designed the unique Turtleback bag.

Swim Feral was founded in early 2020 by Jamima and Sonya, two artists with a cold water habit who made friends swimming in a dam on top of a blustery hill in the Yorkshire moors. Fed up with muddy feet and cold toes, the Turtleback was born out of a very practical desire to make those challenging cold water dips more comfortable.

Back in 2018, Sonya had the idea to swim everyday in January to raise money for displaced and homeless people. The #januarydailydip was born and since then we along with other brave dippers have raised well over £80,000 – and had a lot of freezing fun in the process.

As well as raising money for a great cause the experience inspired two things:

– to encourage more people to connect with the natural world and experience how incredible it feels and the benefits it brings.

– to make a practical swim bag to get changed in, suitable for challenging weather conditions!

And Swim Feral began to take shape.

The business officially started via Kickstarter with the launch of the Turtleback bag. Since then Swim Feral has grown into something wonderful – a supportive network of brilliant humans with a deep love and respect for the outdoor places that nourish our souls.

Click here to read the story of how the Turtleback grew from an idea on the side of a muddy riverbank to something you can now throw over your shoulder as you head off for a swim.

We’re hugely proud of what we’ve achieved so far and humbled by the wonderful messages we get from our customers. While we love coming up with ideas to make outdoor swimming more comfortable we aim to be more than just product designers. The pandemic curtailed a lot of our initial plans for arts projects but we’re busy dreaming up ideas that will inspire people to connect with themselves, nature and each other through our beautiful cold water landscapes.

  

OUR VALUES 

Two people looking at each other while standing on the water up to their waist with their arms outstretched across the surface of the water

SUSTAINABLE SWIMMING

We are outdoor swimmers and we are outdoor enthusiasts. We care deeply about our impact on people and place and that sentiment is at the core of everything that we do. We support and work with independent, ethically-focused organisations and individuals who align our values. We source locally made products, use local services, we are a member of Made in Britain, we offer repairs on faulty products and use recycled, ethically sourced materials whenever we can.


RESPECT FOR OUR LANDSCAPE

Our love of swimming is fairly obvious but it’s the landscapes that surround us when we’re in the water that really connects with our heads and hearts. We want to inspire more people to find that connection with nature – with that comes respect and responsibility. We love our swim places for a reason and it’s imperative that we leave them as untouched as they were when we arrived.


POWER TO THE PEOPLE

Community is at the heart of Swim Feral. The beautiful swim stories you share, our amazing network of makers whose expertise and patience goes into each and every product and the brilliant swimmers that use them – we are all connected.

The marvellous thing about swimming outdoors is that almost anyone can do it – on their own or with a little help from friends. Even if you don’t own one of our products, we hope that our inclusive attitude to outdoor swimming empowers people to give it a go and have a lot fun in the process.

We are so proud of this wonderful community that defines who we are. In a time when there is so much trauma in the world we can be a force for good.

 

TEAM SWIM FERAL

Jamima in the water at sunset throwing some ice in the air

JAMIMA 

I kind of came to outdoor swimming by accident. It was a beautiful still day, the water looked so inviting I got in, that was in spring of 2017. I’ve been pretty much everyday since, an instant addiction. It was and still is the best therapy I’ve ever had and absolutely the most fun. I love that you become the landscape – not just an observer. I love the deep connection I have with my friends, the cold is very honest and humbling, it cuts straight to the core, there’s no pretence. It’s a connection to people and place that I haven’t found in the same way anywhere else.

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Lizzie sitting with a coffee with hills behind her

LIZZIE 

While I’m certainly not as hardcore as Jamima, I took my first tentative steps into the wild world of outdoor swimming when I joined the Swim Feral team. I’m based in Todmorden too and I am so proud to be part of Swim Feral, seeing it blossom into the business it is today – and beyond! The landscapes around Todmorden have been my solace during the pandemic and I’m a massive advocate for people getting out into nature – an absolute belter for the soul.

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Sarah with her hood up looking down at the camera

SARAH 

Hi, I’m not-so-feral Sarah. I have a lifelong love of being outside … looking for nature and poking about in ponds, gardening, going up on the moors with the dog and playing out in Forest School … but I have yet to get into deliberately immersing myself in cold water. So that’s become my challenge for 2021, being as I’m now Chief-Bag-Packer for Swim Feral. I’m in awe of you peeps who swim outdoors all year round, and feel inspired to discover for myself the thrill of the chill.

 

Header image: ©YorkshirePost Newspapers
Picture James Hardisty @snapperjim 

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