WINDSURFING

On the snowy moun­tains!

Adventure - - Contents - Words and Im­ages courtesy Red Bull

Levi Siver has built up an im­pres­sive rep­u­ta­tion as a freestyle wind­surfer around the world. Now the 36-year-old from Idaho (land locked) has pulled off an­other mem­o­rable feat when he took his finned board to the deep pow­der Snow Moun­tains of Rishiri Is­land in Ja­pan for alpine windsurfing. Siver has rid­den huge waves all over the globe, man­ag­ing to bend the wind to his will; how­ever he had never ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing quite like what he faced in Hokkaido. Five years after his ini­tial idea, he fi­nally when all the con­di­tions looked per­fect he com­mit­ted to twenty days of filming at the scenic Rishiri Is­land near Ja­pan. Rishiri Is­land is re­mote; it is a small is­land about 20 kilo­me­ters off the north­ern tip of Hokkaido, with a cir­cum­fer­ence of about 60 kilo­me­ters and Mount Rishiri, a dor­mant vol­cano, at its cen­tre. To­gether with neigh­bour­ing Re­bun Is­land, Rishiri be­longs to the Rishiri-Re­bun-Saro­betsu Na­tional Park. Many of the is­land's 6000 in­hab­i­tants are make a living from tourism, fish­ing and Ski­ing. But not many snow wind­surf!

“RISHIRI IS­LAND IS RE­MOTE; IT IS A SMALL IS­LAND ABOUT 20 KILO­ME­TERS OFF THE NORTH­ERN TIP OF HOKKAIDO, WITH A CIR­CUM­FER­ENCE OF ABOUT 60 KILO­ME­TERS AND MOUNT RISHIRI, A DOR­MANT VOL­CANO, AT ITS CEN­TRE. ”

Siver said ‘The dis­tinc­tive ter­rain, where you can look down on the ocean while riding down the moun­tain, was per­fect for this project.’ He went on to ex­plain, “What moun­tains and the ocean have in com­mon is their unpredictability. The scenery is truly beau­ti­ful, but also ex­tremely dan­ger­ous and the con­di­tions change ev­ery day.” “The idea for the project stemmed from the vi­sion that we could trans­fer the el­e­ments of windsurfing onto a moun­tain and cre­ate the same ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence the surfer gets on the wa­ter. “I’m al­ways try­ing to find ways to chal­lenge my­self, but this project really sparked my cu­rios­ity. What would hap­pen if I were to com­bine snow­board­ing and windsurfing? I have en­joyed both of these dis­ci­plines for a really long time. I wanted to be the first per­son to try alpine windsurfing on a finned board. Us­ing a snow­board would ac­tu­ally be op­ti­mum for per­for­mance, but I really wanted to recre­ate that unique sen­sa­tion of windsurfing and to do that I need to make a board some­where in be­tween a snow­board and windsurfing board.’ “The board has the rail and fin you need for surf­ing and there are no bind­ings. It has straps and it’s rid­den with surf boots so on the drop in you get the same feel­ing as when you’re windsurfing. But you’re look­ing down on a moun­tain, not the ocean." Shoot­ing con­sisted of a two-hour hike, then wait­ing for up to three hours at a time for op­ti­mum winds. For the final re­sult can watch the movie www.ad­ven­turemagzine.co.nz Siver summed up the chal­lenge with “I sim­ply got this ex­hil­a­rat­ing feel­ing that I can’t even de­scribe.” Siver and his team will be look­ing for new chal­lenges and more ex­treme en­vi­ron­ments to take his windsurfing skills too, they are not sure where yet but it will be cut­ting edge and think­ing out­side of the box.

“WHAT MOUN­TAINS AND THE OCEAN HAVE IN COM­MON IS THEIR UNPREDICTABILITY. THE SCENERY IS TRULY BEAU­TI­FUL, BUT ALSO EX­TREMELY DAN­GER­OUS AND THE CON­DI­TIONS CHANGE EV­ERY DAY.”

Levi Siver riding his wind­surfer down the slopes of Rishiri Moun­tain, Ja­pan. Im­age by Ja­son Halayko/Red Bull

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