I have very close relationship with my sister. I love to freedive and she loves to take photos underwater.
We could stay hours in the water. With her it’s always fun.
I think it’s fun to have fun. At least it’s more fun to have fun than have not so much fun. I use a lot of effort and try to arrange time to have some fun. Sometimes it’s difficult because all the work we have to do. My sister is a professional photographer and I’m a designer. We have learned that the easiest way for us to be together is to work together.
We also take pictures above the surface and one of our favourite projects has been making an ebook of the nicest cafés in Helsinki. That is fun. Going around, sitting in cafés together and planning what our next project might look like.
I like to spend time with my sister in water more than I like to make records.
I can't say I train freediving like a sport. I do not have a training calendar and I do not train the way “really competitive freedivers” or other athletes do. I do not really have goals or I do not dive because I want to go deeper or further or hold my breath longer. It's interesting to know how far I can push myself in a competition but I always dive because I think it’s fun. It’s just fun. It’s not important but it’s rewarding. I do not train for competitions. But I spend a lot of time in the water. Almost every day. Diving and holding my breath. Like I said I have dived longer, further and deeper than I ever thought I would.
Normally I go to the pool competitions to see how far I can dive. I do not train long dives but it’s interesting to know how far I can go. Competitions are the safest places to do maximum dives. All the safety is organised and doctors and everything.
To know how long I can dive is also a safety issue for me. If I know how much I can dive without “a super training season” before the competition I know that it is my true limit. If I know how it feels to do maximum dives I know how it feels when I’m just “fun diving”. I think it’s important for my safety.
Competitive freediving is freediving. I kind of understand that somebody can see fun diving and competitions opposite sides of the same sport. I’m not sure it is like that. Controlling your mind is more interesting in a more difficult situation. Mastering the mind is more difficult in competition. The more you have to master your mind the more you can learn about yourself. In competition the situation is more difficult. You do not want to give up. You want to do your best dive. You know how it is going to feel but you really have to let it go or otherwise you can not freedive in competitions. Or at least it is not going to be fun. At all.
I think it’s also part of the mastering your mind to understand and respect your own feelings of what really is important. Do your best, do not give up and accept that you are as good as you are. You are not going to be better than you are. You can not dive longer than you can. And you are not any worse person if you are not such a good freediver as you would like to be. You can not break any records if you do not understand this. I think competitive freediving is nothing else than just freediving. There is no two sides. It’s all about learning yourself and how you acting in different situations.
In competitions diving is also quite simple. Easy and simple. Just go to the water and dive in a straight line with the suit and mask and weights and finns. Just take care you are aware how you really feel. It’s easy. When we are making photos with my sister it’s not so easy :D. Normally I have to be in difficult poses. Without a mask and not seeing anything. Nose full of water. With empty lungs because the weights don’t look so nice in pictures. In a freezing water with only jeans on I’m shaking from the cold and my sister is pushing me and telling me that my expression is a bit tense. And somehow.. I should look good. Put my hands in position which is everything but natural. All this in the middle of my total relaxation and with my empty mind. It’s so fun. Sometimes it is almost desperate fun.
Competitions are easy.
So, support from my family makes me better diver. Definitely.
We are having our first ElinaandJohanna.com exhibition "Underwater Dreams" starting 13.10.2017 at How Violins. Next one opens at Radisson Plaza 15.1. And there will be more, in Finland and overseas. Prints will be available for sale at the exhibitions and online when exhibitions start. Money from the art will be used to cover Johanna's next record attempt.
Photo by Elina, www.elinamanninen.com