Levi Siver in a quite unusual context

Experience Windsurfing Down Snow-Covered Mountains

Levi Siver finds common ground between the mountains and ocean in this one-of-a-kind combination of two sports.

Windsurfing on snow? There's only one man willing to take on this unprecedented challenge — Levi Siver. Siver is a professional windsurfer known for catching the biggest waves all over the world, while bending the wind to his will.

Big wave (and big mountain) windsurfer, Levi Siver
Big wave (and big mountain) windsurfer, Levi Siver© Jason Halayko/Red Bull Content Pool

“The idea for this project stemmed from the vision that we could transfer the elements of windsurfing onto a mountain and create the same exhilarating experience the surfer gets on the water. I’m always trying to find ways to challenge myself, but this project really sparked my curiosity. What would happen if I were to combine snowboarding and windsurfing? After all, I've enjoyed both of these sports for a really long time,” explains Siver.

It's been five years since Levi came up with the idea, and finally the vision became a reality. The filming alone took 20 days. Taking into account the planning and filming prep time, the entire production took eight months. 

Levi, taking a good look at his newest challenge
Levi, taking a good look at his newest challenge© Jason Halayko/Red Bull Content Pool

"I wanted to be the first person to try alpine windsurfing on a finned board. Using a snowboard would actually be optimum for performance, but I really wanted to recreate that unique sensation of windsurfing and to do that I needed to make a board somewhere in between a snowboard and windsurfing board,” says Siver. Clearly, this project was successful because of Siver’s own research efforts and the board he developed.

Keith Taboul and Levi Siver working on the board
Keith Taboul and Levi Siver working on the board© Karim Iliya/Red Bull Content Pool

“The board has the rail and fin you need for surfing and there are no bindings. It has straps and it's ridden with surf boots so on the drop in you get the same feeling as when you’re windsurfing. But you’re looking down a mountain, not the ocean. I got this exhilarating feeling that I can’t even really describe,” says Siver.

Take a look at what happened behind the scenes

“The strongest wind I caught was about 9.3 mph,” Levi smiles. But the filming conditions were harsh. The days started with a two-hour hike up a mountain with temperature lows of 8 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, shooting took an average of seven hours each day. Sometimes Siver and the crew would wait at the summit for up to three hours to make sure they caught the perfect winds.

The location for the shoot was Rishiri Island in Hokkaido — an island off the northern tip of Japan, with distinct terrain, where you can look down on the ocean while riding down the mountain, which was perfect for the project.

"What mountains and the ocean have in common is their unpredictability. The scenery is truly beautiful, but also extremely dangerous and the conditions change every day. Every day is a new adventure. But on the other hand, since each ride is a new challenge, there's this added challenging of conquering your own fear, which really helps you grow as a person,” Siver concludes.

By Go Takagishi