Most people enjoy a dip into a warm pool or blue waters while on holiday. But what kind of maniacs voluntarily swim in near-freezing waters? Winter swimming is a sport practiced in Estonia by brave souls to get their blood and adrenaline pumping. Photographer Jon Cardwell came to try swimming the #EstonianWay at the Winter Swimming World Championships in Tallinn.


Day one

Participants of the 2018 Winter Swimming World Championships, held in the Tallinn Harbour, competed in several categories, all of which involved plunging into freezing water. Afterwards, a portable ‘banya’ sauna was waiting to thaw swimmers.

Wine restaurant R14

Wine restaurant R14

Restaurant Leib

Restaurant Leib

Restaurant Manna La Roosa

Restaurant Manna La Roosa

Tallinn Old Port Yacht Harbour

Tallinn Old Port Yacht Harbour


About Jon Cardwell

Jon Cardwell is a photographer from London. It was not his first time attending the Winter Swimming World Championships. The strange sport first grabbed his attention back in 2014 when he travelled to Rovaniemi, Finland to capture portraits of the steel-nerved participants.