Technically, snow IS water. So it's not like Brian Grubb was doing something THAT crazy when he took his wakeskate to Bosnia in the middle of winter. But it's a good thing he brought some really, really warm rubber. The pioneering wakeskate rider gave a whole new meaning to 'free-heeling' with this binding-less, winch-powered shred over water and snow.
Video: Shredding snow in Bosnia
It's not the first time we've seen Grubb taking wakeskating new places – check out last year's 'rice rodeo' in the Philippines – but it's definitely a creative line to ride. “Originally, we were looking at riding this cool creek in the summer,” says Grubb. “But then we realised, it would be so much easier to connect a fluid line in the winter, where you could transition from water to snow and back again!”
The mountain of Bjelasnica, 25km from Sarajevo and former host to the Winter Olympics, provided the perfect playground for the experimental sesh. There, the Studeni Potok (translation: 'Icy Creek') is known to the locals as the 'Dragon's Tail', supposedly left in the ground as a mythical beast lumbered toward a nearby village.
Grubb and friends had a two-month window in which they aimed to accomplish the project. Early January, the river was frozen, but come February, conditions got ripe. Even so, they had to deal with bad weather – after setting up rails and snow kickers, a winter storm covered the creek in snow, forcing them to relocate – but, as you can see above, plenty of fun was still had.
So how cold was it? “Not as bad as I thought!” says Grubb. “It was cold, but I had great gear, and when we were moving, it was fine. We weren't in the water a lot.” The biggest challenge was speed – Brian needed more speed to stay on top of the water, and less speed to carve lines in the snow. Of course, there were a few epic diggers, and while Brian said crashing in the snow wasn't that bad, he prefers the water. “Even though it's powder, it gets packed down,” he says. “But for sure, it wasn't like hitting the sidewalk!”
In most cases, transitioning from water to snow required an easy ollie, but, occasionally, shaping the exit was needed – no problem for the experienced snowboarder. Could you also shred this line on a snowboard? “Definitely,” says Grubb. “But it's about finding new ways to ride in the snow – right now, there's a big movement towards binding-less snowboarding. And we wanted to take wakeskating out of its summer element, and showcase it somewhere new. Doing it in the winter gave it a totally different look.”
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