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 outlines in the 80-centimeter thick ice surface and shaping the ice blocks into a kicker, boxes, and even a five-meter-wide igloo to jump over and ride through.
Despite temperatures dropping down to -18 °C - that had seen men and equipment being frozen over - the trio swiftly broke the ice and demonstrated their creative trick repertoire.
"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," said Georgii.
As wakeboarders normally flock to warmer destinations to ride in board shorts, this time, the three athletes suited up in 6 mm thick wetsuits to remain warm for over an hour in 1 °C cold water before landing their trick and heading back indoors to warm up.
"We have to get our hands on the best neoprene equipment there is," the 29-year-old added.
"After two days, it got really cold, it was minus 10 degrees, and then I started to freeze up," explained Gührs.
"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."
Temperatures of -32 °C
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.
"Underwater, it's just black everywhere, but you can feel the ice sliding along the board, and that's a super awesome feeling," revealed Georgii.
Throughout the 11-day build, the crew and machinery had to withstand temperatures of down to -32 °C, 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-meter-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.
"My highlight was definitely the riding, and sliding around on ice obstacles was something new I've never done before," concluded Hernler.