Finnish Freediver Johanna Nordblad Reaching Record Depths Under Arctic Ice

Johanna Nordblad, a freediver from Finland, is the best at what she does. Then again, not many people are lining up to jump into a frozen lake and swim underneath its ice. But that’s exactly what Nordblad does in the stunning video below, shot by British filmmaker Ian Derry.

One of the great things about life is that tragedies often present unique opportunities in disguise. Nordblad’s opportunity came when she broke her leg in a downhill biking accident so catastrophic, her leg was almost amputated. While recovering, the Finnish graphic designer tried cold-water treatment and eventually fell in love with the sport of free diving. After diving 164 feet underneath the frozen top layer of Lake Paijanne in Finland in March 2015, Nordblad notched the current world record for the longest horizontal free dive under ice.

Ian Derry learned of Nordblad’s story through her sister, a photographer, and got the idea to film a documentary about her intrepid dives. “Once I had met her and gone to the location—which at that point was [-11.2 degrees]—I knew I had to make the film,” he told Nowness, which released the clip below. “The environment and the silence there is something I will never forget.”

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