”Let’s go swimming!” People are shouting at the beach. The crowd creates true team spirit by shouting and making hand gestures together as the summer sun shines brightly. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet a bit charged. Sweat is pouring down on everyone’s back. Time moves extra slowly when you are waiting for something to happen. It feels like we are preparing ourselves for a swim in an ice hole. First, we must survive the fires of hell and then we are saved by the cool lake waters. However, this time around, the road to salvation requires something special – we must remove all our clothes first! These were our feelings as we tried to break the skinny-dipping world record again at Ilosaarirock. The event was sponsored by Radio Rock and Kaalimato.com
I am not usually a prude, but the image of me standing butt naked in front of the whole festival does not sound that appealing at first. However, my inner daredevil-gene takes soon over and off we go. I must get there!
When I arrive at the starting point, I get a brown paper bag and a green cap. The idea is to remove the rest of my modesty into the back and move towards the beach as a new person. Okay. I wander around the beach in my underwear for a while and look as my daredevil-self disappears at the bottom of that brown paper bag. What have I gotten myself into? I look around and see people moving towards the water bursting with joy. The bravery of these festival goers encourages me and soon I notice myself walking with other people in green caps.
Sweat, nudity and team spirit
As we are waiting in a cute line of pairs, I use the time to interview few participants. Free-spirited Jenni Kukka from Helsinki reveals that last years bitter defeat was still bumming her out. The fact that she wound up naked at Linnunlahti beach is not a coincidence. Marsa Kuva from Lahti, joined the green capped group on a whim. So, you never know when you end up naked in front of all to see. And with a permission.
While I’m chatting with people, I relax notably. The sun is scorching us pretty badly and I wish to already get to the water. Our fighting spirit is stirred up with the National Anthem of Finland as well as various war-cries. Most of the participants have come with friends and are playing in the water joyfully and loudly. The goal is to make the whole crowd go wild and you can see how people go into sort of trance.
Unfortunately, we are not able to break the world record. The world record stays at Ireland with 2505 swimmers. There were 1531 people swimming at Linnunlahti beach. This amount is still quite respectable and now we can call ourselves as skinny-dipping masters of Nordic countries. Therefore, we are all winners!
Text: Mirja Kallinen
Photos: Kalle Kervinen
Translation: Tuuli Ahonen