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Lady of the Ice

July 02, 2017 4 min read

Lady of the Ice

Sisters, Elina and Johanna live on the island, Lauttasaari, in Helsinki. Water is a passion for both of them. Elina is a professional photographer and Johanna is a world record holder in ice diving and also a designer, so the art they create together is very important for them both.

They both love the outdoors and love to be in the water. Elina photographs Johanna a lot, and their favorite thing to do is to head out onto one of Finland's many lakes for an adventure and go underwater or under the ice and take beautiful, dreamy pictures. There pictures are pretty amazing and you can check more of the them out here.


They both love the outdoors and love to be in the water. Elina photographs Johanna a lot, and their favourite thing to do is to head out onto one of Finland's many lakes for an adventure and go underwater or under the ice and take beautiful, dreamy pictures. Their pictures are pretty amazing and you can check more of the them out here.

 Johanna’s freediving career started back in 2000 when she went to her first World Championships in Nice. Since then she's been competing almost every year, but now it's more about her love of being in the water than the competitions themselves. Not that she doesn't still have a competitive streak - in 2004 she achieved a world record in 'dynamic apnea' - a sport where the diver swims horizontally under the water's surface for as far as they can. Back then her record stood at 158 meters but she's since gone on to hit 192 meters with fins, and can hold her breath for an incredible six minutes, 35 seconds! 

But she doesn't limit her adventures to underwater,  and also spends time kayaking, motorbiking and downhill biking. In fact, it was her love of downhill biking that led her to diving in the first place. After a particularly nasty biking accident left her with nerve pain, her doctor suggested cold water treatment. At first it was really painful but she not only got use to it, she came to love it. And being a very experienced freediver, she also wanted to freedive in cold water, and living in Finland meant there was no shortage of cold water!


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In 2015, Johanna broke the world record in her sport again, this time in cold water under the ice. She now holds the world record for swimming 50 m under the ice, from ice to ice hole, in only a swimsuit. For 2018 she is planning to break her own record in the same discipline.

“Together with Johanna we make a great team. We go for adventures, see the world together and create our beautiful picture books. And this we want to share with you” said Elina

One of Elina and Johanna’s favourite projects has been the production of the short film "Johanna". It was directed by Ian Derry and filmed in one of their favourite lakes with the most experienced teams for the conditions they have there. It was filmed during four days and it goes without saying, it was really cold. Which made it really difficult to film. But because of Ian's beautiful vision and ability to tell her story it became one of the most watched short films this year. It's even been shared by National Geographic and currently has 14.3 million views.


You can watch the film here:   

Johanna Under The Ice - NOWNESS from NOWNESS on Vimeo.


And the making of video is almost as interesting as the film itself, you can watch that one here: 

The making of Johanna, under the ice. from Ian Derry on Vimeo.


Elina and Johanna first approached us here at ioMerino after being on the hunt to find the perfect Merino wool clothing for many years.

“We love wool, that's all we would want to wear starting from underwear through all the layers", Elina explained.

"For us, the main thing is to be warm before and after the dives. We always work as a team and are in cold conditions together so we both wear ioMerino. Johanna especially, loves to be covered from head to toe, from underwear to all the other layers."

"Finding the perfect Merino wool is very important to us. We have tried to find the perfect wool to wear and been using other brands but had not found a brand that we particularly liked. We really like the fact that ioMerino is pure wool, it's very important for us. And after wearing ioMerino we have fallen in love with their soft, warm, comfortable material. Johanna trains (and me too with her) in cold water in her swimsuit. So for the actual training and record dives there's no wetsuit. For other dives and filming there might be a wetsuit. So we have always believed that to have a woolly layer there under the wetsuit would be a great idea. I'm shooting in that cold water in a wetsuit but need to stay warm as well.”

Elina has also lived in New Zealand and Australia for 8 years, and loves both countries, so has a special place in her hear for our awesome Australian merino wool and the clothes we make from it.