Amber under ice
South African freediver Amber Fillary wants to break the Guinness World Record in freediving under solid ice. No fins, no neopren suit. But that frozen lake in Finland is the least of her problems…
JWD Magazin 05/2019
Text: Marc Bielefeld
Asikkala, Finland, April 2019
Picture Editor: Alexandru Pasca
Amber is in no way a classical freediver. She has a history of depression, alcoholism and bulemia, she smokes a lot.
However, she has been swimming all her life and in her forties, she discovered that she’s a natural when it comes standing the mental challenges of freediving under ice. Suddenly, she is competing in freezing conditions with world class freedivers from around the globe.
Amber wants to set an example for others how to cope with depression.
“Water is my happy place”
It’s the day of the record attempt, March 21st, 2019: The odds are against Amber — already in the morning, communication problems drag her down, then, on the actual record attempt, a tangled rope attached to the camera documenting the record attempt breaks her stride. She comes up at 40 m.
She doesn’t find the mental capacity to try again.
In February 2020, Amber starts her second attempt to make her dream come true.
On a cold winter day in a lake near Oslo, she manages to break the world record, diving 70 m under ice in nothing but a bikini.