- I received almost simultaneous emails the other day from Tom Duca and Kevin Boyle alerting me to a couple of ice windsurfing videos. Here's the email from Kevin:
One of the members of our skating list serve posted this video and I thought of you. He claims to have reached 45mph. His board looks very specialized but I found other youtube videos that looked more like modified summer boards. You in for next winter?
- A bit like a Cool Ranch Dorito, you can't have just one, right? I started by watching several other videos by Utubeblaster who uploaded that video above. Before long I was hooked! From video to video to website to website I zig-zagged around the internets learning about windsurfing on ice (aka ice boarding or iceboarding). What follows is a quasi-curated mashup of the more helpful information I unearthed.
- Compared to the rather thrilling but elegant feel of the preceding videos, this next one is pretty hard core. I only wish the their was a still shot of that bizarre contraption he's riding...
- So it turns out that funky looking ice board/sled/rocket he's riding is called a Snowfer. Here's their website:
- If the Snowfer's retro look is a throwback to 1980s windsurfers, this Czech alternative from SWIFT Windboards is obviously a cousin to freestyle snowboards.
- SWIFT Windboards are designed for windsurfing on snow, or on ice covered by a snow layer at least 3cm thick. Thanks to a range of original construction elements they offer excellent ride characteristics. Constructionally, the windboard itself is derived from a common snowboard, but it has several differences. These are mostly the overall size and shape and also the profile of deflexion and hardness.
- Somewhat similar to the SWIFT Windboard is the Windski which appears to be a hybrid of a skateboard and a monoski. (It's worth nothing that both of these last two are exclusively for snow and not for ice.)
- I discovered Hiberna Iceboards next, and they look like they may very well be the slickest rig on the market. They sell two models of beautifully designed and built iceboards as well as a full line of specialty iceboard blades and replacement parts. Cool!
- Unfortunately Hiberna is located in Riga, Latvia! A bit of a hike to "test ride" an iceboard. Good news? They have a rep in the United states.
- I shot them an email requesting more information and pricing for the Hiberna Iceboards, and I'll update this post if/when I receive a response. Until then, I have found a similar manufacturer called T2 Iceboards, but the linguistic barrier and a clunky website limit my progress with them... I've looked all over the internets for design specs to see if there's a DIY option. So far, no dice. The closest I've gotten is this close up look:
- Perhaps if you're handier than I am you can figure out how to design/build your own iceboard. Please share the wisdom if you do! (Or even if you find a recipe or design template that somebody else has built.)
Okay, enough on the gear. Time to get back to the "big picture"!