Swimmers at Hietaniemi Beach attempt to break the skinny-dipping world record in Helsinki on 5 September, 2015. Last weekend’s effort at Ilosaarirock proved to be more successful.


Wearing nothing but green swimming caps, hundreds of Finns plunged into Linnunlahti Bay in an attempt to break the skinny-dipping world record on Saturday, July 15.

The mass naked swim took place during Ilosaarirock festival, with an estimated 789 participants helping to break the world record that was set in Perth, Australia in 2015. Confirmation from Guinness World Records is still needed, but it is thought that the previous record was beaten by a total of three swimmers.

If that proves to be the case then it was partially down to a last-minute change of weather. Festival organisers had encouraged ticketholders to try to break the world record weeks beforehand, but shortly before the scheduled swimming time the weather was overcast and only a few hundred participants were undressed and ready to go.

It was at that point that the sun poked through the clouds and, suddenly inspired, hundreds more decided to ditch their clothes and join in. Swimmers were required to be in the water for at least five minutes in order to break the record and, with 30 seconds left, the crowd broke into a celebratory rendition of the Finnish national anthem.

Saturday’s swim was actually the third time that a world record attempt has taken place in Finland in as many years. The previous two tries took place in Helsinki in 2015 and 2016, but in both cases only around 300 participants showed up.

This time, however, the skinny dippers would not be denied. Speaking to Yle, Henri Heilala summed up the dedicated attitude that seems to have put Finland into the record books. “It's not our first time naked swimming,” he said. “We have been training hard all spring."

Dan Anderson – HT

Photo: Lehtikuva Video / Jussi Nukari