Netflix’s ‘Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive’ is a documentary that follows Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad as she attempts to break the world record for distance traveled under ice in a single breath. It thus covers everything from her journey into ice diving to her passion for the extreme adventure and from her struggles along the way to the unwavering support she has received from loved ones. So now, if you wish to learn more about her experiences — including her personal, familial, and professional ones — don’t worry; we’ve got all the essential details for you.
Who is Johanna Nordblad?
As someone who does not let societal norms or personal inhibitions hold her back, Johanna Nordblad can only be described as a bright, strong, independent, and tenacious woman. The fact is she has always been this way, whether it is as an athlete or a little girl who used to go to the bottom of the 5-meter pool back in her hometown simply to observe the world. “You feel this deep sense of acceptance [in the water], free from any negativity or irritations,” Johanna admitted in the documentary. “It is just this natural feeling of goodness” — a feeling she got addicted to.
That’s why Johanna chose to begin a career in freediving in 2000, only to work hard, compete in world championships, set new records, and eventually land the title of being “the best” in her field. Unfortunately, things wobbled a bit when she met with a downhill biking accident in 2010 and not only twisted but shattered her left leg so severely that she needed to be rushed into surgery. The doctors did their best, yet her swelling was such that they couldn’t even entirely close up her wounds until ten days later, which affected her nerves, leaving her in constant pain for years.
Johanna, a qualified graphic designer, actually had to sell her agency because the ache in her leg was consuming every scrap of her energy, driving doctors to suggest ice therapy in 2013. This treatment did wonders for both her body and soul, pushing her to start ice diving beneath the Arctic before she broke the prominent world record for distance traveled under ice in one breath not once but twice. In March 2015, Johanna dived 50 meters, and then, in March 2021, she broke the men’s, the women’s, and the unofficial record by doubling her number — she dived 103 meters.
Where is Johanna Nordblad Now?
At the age of 46, Johanna Nordblad is currently not only a designer, a freediver, and an ice diver, but she’s also an entrepreneur as well as a proud mother based in Lauttasaari, Finland. Moreover, she even serves as a freediving instructor, with a specific focus on breath control, especially since it helps increase regular intake of oxygen and relaxation as well. She is undeniably a creative individual, just like her professional photographer sister Elina Manninen, which is why it comes as no surprise that they even operate a company called Green Water Productions in Helsinki at the moment.
As a Freediver, Underwater Model, Designer, Co-Founder, and Creative Director for Green Water, while also holding an executive post at HealthFox Oy, Johanna is successfully juggling a lot right now. A significant reason behind this is that she has the experience to do well both inside the water and as a marketing/advertising professional; plus, she’s passionate about her ventures.
We should also mention that Johanna understands why people are often bewildered when they hear about her outstanding ice records, so all she wants them to know is that she trains hard. “I love the feeling of water,” she once said. “I love how the pressure almost encases you and how my whole body relaxes when I [hold] my breath. I’m not afraid of anything, and I have no doubts. I know my limits.”