Snowboarding can reach 100 km / h in the magical and sunny landscape of the frozen Baltic Sea, and it is a minority sport practiced in the midst of this northern winter off the coast of Finland.
“I call them happiness machines. They really make people smile, it’s a lot of fun and pure movement,” Fyodor Gurvitz told AFP as he reviewed his devices.
Plate placed on a metal frame with three mini-skis and a classic sail. This is the secret of this authentic winter sport, intended for a few countries in the world.
With a group of half a dozen sailors of ice, Fyodor and his companions travel to the coast of Hernesari in Helsinki, the Finnish capital, equipped with protective helmets and padded clothing to protect themselves from a possible slide on a steep curve.
Esa Harjula, a senior bearded member of the team, explains, “It hurts your hands and you have to hold on well, otherwise it’s much easier on the ice than on the summer (in the water).”
With a very cold February in northern Europe, the Baltic Sea froze very salty, reaching a thickness of about 30 cm.
Despite the warming temperatures in recent days, the thickness of the ice is now allowed to support a “pickup truck” despite the air temperature of 5 degrees, explains Fyodor Jorvitz.
The speed of moderate winds reached 8 meters per second 71.6 km / h. But these tools can reach 100 km.
“We sometimes forget to breathe,” says Mete Ciragan, the fastest of the day. “But you have to focus on the surface so you don’t get stuck on something and fall off,” he adds.
“With less winds, you can go faster in liquid water, because there is much less resistance,” stresses Marian Rautelain, a former European classic surfing champion who started sailing on the ice in 2009.
After achieving victories in both areas, he didn’t know how to choose which one to prefer.
“In the summer the weather is attractive because the waves make it more difficult, but in the winter you can walk straight,” he told AFP.
Around a thousand people are practicing the sport, according to estimates, with degrees of high-level experts, the majority of them in the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries and Poland, as well as in the United States, Canada and Russia.
Feodor Gurvits fulfilled his dream in 2017 of winning the world champion title, but as long as weather conditions allowed, he would continue practicing.
He justifies “my goal is to continue, to benefit from freedom, to make a better alien tool and to try to please others.”
SGK / MAP / DEP / AF / ZM