Sam Smoothy, Victor and Xavier de le Rue have taken freeriding to the extreme with their recent descent of an active volcano on South Pacific island Vanuatu. Watch their brand new film, Sliding Fire, in the video above to see the results.
During a summer surf trip to the tropical paradise, the trio headed to Mount Yasur to shred the ash face, negotiating flying molten rock and dust storms.
“It was so surreal, like you just shouldn’t be doing this,” recalls Sam. “It is the ultimate fish out of water type situation. Your skis just don’t run the same at all, so physically you're tensing everything, trying to hold it all together.
“And there's the whole mental side of things – hearing the volcano explode while you stand near the summit, the ground shaking as you stare up into the storm of ash and rock starts raining down on you, trying to see any rocks that might smite you. It is pretty biblical in a sense.”
Sadly it is nowhere near as good as snow, so there goes that solution for our climate change.Sam Smoothy
While cruising ash might not live up to the feeling of powder lines, tackling Mount Yasur was an opportunity to take a fresh perspective on their sport.
“Everything is slower,” explains Sam. “You have to be careful not to catch an edge as that’s pretty easy. It was also really hard on your legs – my thighs would be burning halfway down and screaming at me to stop.”
Looking back on the adventure, Sam described how this unusual terrain was as hard on his gear as it was on his body and mind. “My skis were totally ruined – ground down to the core. Goggles were hard to see through as they were totally exfoliated by the windblown ash. The drones got pretty beat up trying to fly through ash clouds, but the worst was the cameras – the lenses got scratched and all the focus rings were barely turning, just stuck hard with grit and ash.”