Levi Siver, the world's first alpine windsurfer

May 9, 2017 | Windsurfing
Levi Siver: snow windsurfing is fast and dangerous | Photo: Halayko/Red Bull

Levi Siver has become the first ever person to go snow windsurfing in a mountain.

The sailor from Maui, Hawaii, went windsurfing in the snowy slopes of Rishiri, a volcanic island located off the coast of Hokkaido, in Japan.

"The concept came from an imagination of taking the windsurfing feeling out of its element and bringing it to the mountains, and significantly recreate the same sensation in the snow," reveals Levi Siver.

The windsurfer hiked up the mountain several times with temperature lows of -13°C. The project took 20 days to complete. The crew had to choose the right paths, the best peaks, and the ideal snow and terrain conditions, while also taking the wind speed and direction into account.

"It's difficult because there are no references, nobody to look at. You're the first person to experiment, so there's a lot of trial and error."

Levi Siver: ready to descend Rishiri Island with his windsurfing equipment | Photo: Halayko/Red Bull

In a spot is surrounded by water and also by high winds, Siver, 36, rode the ice crystals and the steep slopes using a specially-designed board shaped by Keith Teboul from Quatro.

"We had to find something in between a snowboard and a windsurf board, with real surfing rails, fins, foot straps, and no bindings. The sensation is hard to explain. It's a bit of a thrill, excitement, fear and curiosity."

"You don't need the same amount of power in the sail. In the ocean, you might 20 knots of wind, but here you only need five knots because you can go 30 miles an hour. The speed in uncontrollable. It's really hard to stop."

It's rare to spot a windsurfing sail in a snowy environment, but Levi Siver's attempt was worth it and, who knows, it may pave the way to a new discipline within the sport.