Beneath the ice another world is waiting to be discovered

The ice and cold water is like a barrier of searing fire, yet once through the portal another world beckons in the deeps

Johanna Nordblad is a world record free diver from Finland, who specialises in extreme cold water dives underneath the winter ice. She originally discovered the bittersweet world of cold water after suffering a horrific leg injury while downhill mountain biking, using it as a form of therapy. At first she hated it, and found the searing cold just too painful. In time, she fell in love with it.

What Nordblad does is so extreme it’s hard for most of us on the outside to truly comprehend. In just a swim suit and mask – no drysuit, no rope, no scuba tank – she cut two holes in the ice of a frozen lake and swam 164 feet between them. The risks are enormous – from losing her way and running out of air, to hypothermia due to the sheer temperature of the water – but for Nordblad the rewards are worth it. It’s like entering another world, a world she feels totally comfortable and in control in, but a world at complete odds with everything above the ice. Slow, dark, and chilled; totally alien yet undeniably beautiful.

This ethereal film is an introduction to that world, a place where time moves slower and everything is simpler.

Johanna Under The Ice – NOWNESS

Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad holds the world record for a 50-meter dive under ice. She discovered her love for the sport through cold-water treatment while recovering from a downhill biking accident that almost took her leg. British director and photographer Ian Derry captures her taking a plunge under the Arctic ice.