On the snowy mountains!
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