Georgii, Gührs and Hernler conquer temperatures down to -18 degrees Celsius.
For their latest adventure, wakeboarders Felix Georgii, Dominik Gührs and Dominik Hernler tackled the freezing cold north of the Arctic Circle to ride on and below the most sophisticated wakeboarding course ever built out of ice and snow.
– German wakeboarder Felix Georgii is known for his creativity when it comes to unlocking new spots and trick variations therefore, it came as no surprise that the 2018 X Games gold medallist chose a Swedish frozen lake north of the Arctic Circle as the perfect location to invite his friends, two-time World Champion Gührs and six-time Austrian Champion Dominik Hernler.
– The trio created an obstacle course by cutting out lines in the 80cm thick ice surface and shaping the ice blocks into a kicker, boxes and even a five-metre-wide igloo to jump over and ride through.
– Despite temperatures dropping down to minus 18 degrees Celsius – that had seen men and equipment being frozen over – the trio swiftly broke the ice and demonstrated their creative trick repertoire.
– Georgii said: “Creativity is super important for me; thus we are working with a completely new material. With ice, we can create obstacles that you can’t do in a regular wake park on plastic obstacles.”
– As wakeboarders normally flock to warmer destinations to ride in board shorts, this time the three athletes suited up in 6mm thick wetsuits to remain warm for over an hour in 1° degree-cold waters before landing their trick and heading back indoors to warm up. The 29-year-old added: “We have to get our hands on the best neoprene equipment there is.”
– Gührs, 32, explained: “After two days it got really cold, it was minus 10 degrees and then I started to freeze up, my jacket was all frozen, my boots were frozen up and I just felt like a proper ice man. I couldn’t move anymore and in the end it was actually pretty extreme.”
– After learning how to stay calm while being pulled upside down under the ice, Georgii connected with two-time Red Bull Illume Overall-winning photographer Lorenz Holder to create the perfect shot.
– German Holder placed his flashes facing down on the ice surface and used the ice body as an amplifier to shine light through the dark waters, freezing Georgii in the perfect moment while being pulled from one side of the ice opening under the surface to the exit.
– Georgii enthused: “Under water it’s just black everywhere, but you can feel the ice sliding along the board and that’s a super awesome feeling.”
– Throughout the 11-days build, the crew and machinery had to withstand temperatures of down to -32° degrees Celsius, resulting in frozen beards, chainsaws and pools, that were reopened and cleared every morning. In total 518 tons of ice were lifted out of the lake from which roughly 10 tons were used to create the obstacles on three distinctive lines.
– The 110 metre-long feature line pushed the riders to deliver big airs and technical slides; a natural line demanded quick feet to jump from pool to pool and a creative line meant the wakeboarders could slide over a long slab of ice equipped with ice walls.
– Hernler, 31, declared: “My highlight was definitely the riding, sliding around on ice obstacles was something new I’ve never done before.”