No one has ever referred to Red Bull Air Force team member Miles Daisher as "normal", "sane" or "predictable". But even with his well-known tendency towards the unexpected, he managed to surprise this winter with another entirely new alpine activity, or should that be aerial activity?
See Miles fly his 'Skyak' here
Watch the snow-speed-yaking video
Having launched his kayak out of a plane many times before, the aerial athlete decided to take his playboat somewhere else – the mountain, where he's combined it with a speed-riding rig to form what he calls 'snow-speed-yaking'. What?! Maybe you should just watch the video above.
“It's three sports in one,” says Daisher. “Kayaking, speed-riding and snowboarding!” How does it work? Fairly simply: Daisher puts on his speed-riding rig – the one he skis with – and plops down into the kayak. The rig isn't connected to the boat – or rather, his body is the connection. “I'm steering the wing with my hands and harness, and steering the boat with my feet and hips,” he says.
Check the Instagram mini-clip of snow-speed-yaking
After his first attempt last winter at Pebble Creek resort in Idaho with a permission-granted in-bounds run, he's taken the snow-speed-yak to the Idaho backcountry spot at Red Mountain, where he hikes up with the boat on his back using a kayak portage pack, and then flies down using an 11m speed-riding rig. “I use a slightly bigger rig than normal speed-riding – the kayak adds another 20kg, and you've got to load the wing right!”
The sketchiest part? Not the landing, but the take-off – after all, boats don't have brakes. “If I screwed up the take-off on this one, it was right into brush and shale rocks – not good!” says Daisher. But once he's in the air, it's smooth sailing… boating… skiing…. OK, whatever you want to call it. And the landing? “Smooth as butter!”
Now that Daisher has been fine-tuning the art of flying a boat over snow (we've always wanted to write that sentence, we just didn't know it until Daisher enlightened us), what's next? “I want to find a pond where I can snow-speed-yak, skip along the water, then bounce out to snow again!” OK, we'd watch that. And then? “I'm just waiting for the International Olympic Committee to put it on the schedule for the next Winter Games!” Fingers crossed, Miles Daisher. Let's see how many other new sports you can invent in the meantime.
Check out the ultimate episode of Miles Above