Rice rodeo: Brian Grubb wakeskates the Philippines

Brian Grubb and Dominik Preisner sesh the Banaue rice terraces in the Philippines.

© Daniel Deak Bardos/Sophia Langner

The last decade has seen wakeskaters push the boundaries of where liquid-and-petrol fueled fun happen – exploring urban pools and water fountains, dams, bridges, and more. But never has there been a location quite like this.

Filipinos refer to the Banaue rice terraces as one of the 'eighth wonders of the world'. Carved into the sides of mountains, the 2000-year-old rice terraces are a national icon. Check out the photo gallery here.

“Since I first saw the drawing of these huge rice terraces on the back of the 1000 Peso bill, the idea of having a session there wouldn’t get out my head,” says Grubb. “It was only a drawing, but it looked like a perfect winch spot and probably a super scenic location. And it was!”

Grubb – along with German wakeskater Dominik Preisner – sessioned the iconic landmark over the last two weeks, with ultimate respect for the environment. Plans to build all-natural log sliders were approved with the locals, and plants and wildlife were undamaged.

The pools – ranging in length and width, but are often only big enough for the rider to quickly drop, prep for a maneuver, and exit. And what about the risk factor? “It's shallow landings, but it's just silty mud on the bottom,” says Grubb. “I shot the board over the edge – but I managed to stay in the pool!”

While this is unquestionably one of the unique wakeskate locations we've ever seen, this is just the beginning: the mission of the trip and photoshoot was to determine the possibility of putting together a one-of-a-kind winch contest. The verdict? Positive.

“The people here are super friendly,” say Grubb. “At first they had no idea what they were talking about. Now that they know what we want to do, hopefully we'll get permission to do an event here. Incredible potential for wakeskating in a natural environment!”