Windsurfer rides Japanese mountain in world first ‘alpine windsurfing descent’

Levi Siver becomes first person to ‘alpine windsurf,’ sailing down a powder coated mountain off the northern coast of Hokkaido, Japan

Windsurfing is normally associated with the blue waters of the Mediterranean off the coast of Sardinia or Greece (or the rather more chilly Draycote Water if you’re less lucky), but Levi Siver took ‘off the beaten path’ literally on his latest quest.

A professional windsurfer from Hawaii, Siver opted to skip the ocean entirely, instead taking to a snow-covered mountain on Japan’s Rishiri Island. Japan is famous among snow sports enthusiasts for its incredibly heavy winter snowfall, and he was able to harness the wind to surf the powder just as elegantly as a skier or snowboarder in what is believed to be the worlds first alpine windsurfing descent.

Siver used a specially adapted rig with a modified finned base, but didn’t have everything all his own way, with a two hour hike up through the deep snow before each ride.

Speaking about the adventure, he said:

“The wind is an endless resource wherever you go in the world. It’s there, and being a windsurfer, you can do it in so many different ways, whether it’s on a mountain or in the ocean.”

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