Ice surfing

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Ice or snow surfing (English to snowfer ) is a winter sport in which a person glides on a snow or ice surface using various aids .


Ice surfing developed as a subspecies of windsurfing , which originated in 1960, in the 1980s. An avid Canadian surfer named Charles Chepregi constructed a solid sliding board ( snowboard ) with a large support that can be used on snow and frozen surfaces. He combined it with a hand sail and named the resulting creation Snowfer . Chepregi applied for patent protection of the board for the new sport first in Canada , between 1989 and 1991 also in the USA and in Europe , which was confirmed in 1994. The board, initially self-made, was soon also manufactured industrially. The first such product came from Estonia , where the inventor Charles Chepregi emigrated in 1991. With it he won a competition at the World Championships in ice and snow sailing. In 1992 and 1993 several athletes presented the new winter sport at races in Poland and Canada. In 1995 the USA (Madison, Wisconsin) hosted its first own Snowfer Championship, which Charles Chepregi won. In 1997, Chepregi launched a new Snowfer ( Snowfer KC 3X ) that quickly found users all over the world. 70 participants from 14 countries came with Snowfers to the international snow and ice sailing championship in Orillia (Canada). At the end of 1999, the boards had been further improved by using a sandwich construction made of balsa wood and epoxy resin, making them lighter but just as stable. In the late 1990s, Snowfers had already been sold to Japan, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, New Zealand, Russia, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Serbia and Belgium. The campaigns mostly take place on the Internet and the interest is still unbroken (as of 2004). The fans of this sport are sure that their sport will continue to spread in the future because it is easy to learn and does not require expensive special equipment.

In Germany, first of all in Berlin and the surrounding area, several ice surf clubs were founded and a Berlin championship was held in 1997. Competitions were also held on the Wörthsee , Ammersee , Zwischenahner Meer and Merg and Chiemsee lakes .


Sports organizations have agreed on the following subdivision:

  • Class H: small hand-held sail
  • Class K (also kite class): medium-sized sail, with one foot on the surfboard
  • Class W: Use of a surf rig .

Comparisons of women and men are evaluated separately and a distinction is made between regular [under 40 years (R)] and Masters [over 40 years (M)].

There are different forms of competition for a sporting comparison. The international sports association World Ice and Snow Sailing (WISSA) has drawn up the sporting rules for this :

  • Course race (triangle course)
similar to surfing frigates. Depending on the wind, five to ten races are held over three to four days, with a maximum of 50 participants per class.
  • Speed ​​races
A maximum speed must be reached within a given distance.
  • marathon
A wind ride the length of a normal marathon
  • Freestyle
only in the kite class: jumps are shown and judged by a jury.

Gliding devices

Snowferboards are very light and very stable, their underside has special running surfaces for wax. They are equipped with flat runners that are embedded in the board. The runners are differentiated according to four different lengths, their number per board and their position under the board: four inner or standard runners, for ice an additional four outer runners, which are attached to be moveable and rocking. This guarantees a constant film of water under the Snowfer when driving on ice, which must always be loaded centrally. None of the runners protrude from the side of the board. The specially hardened rear runners contribute to high travel speeds.

Even with moderate winds, the ice surfer can ski on snow fields and, thanks to the large running surfaces, slide easily over deep snow.

In the modification to the Snowfer there are still a few different variants.

3-skid ice surfer

Here the front runners are mounted in a steerable manner and the two rear runners are attached to the axis so that they can easily be rotated. The control can be influenced by shifting the pressure point, as is the case with surfing, in this case the control skid has to be hung like the wheel on a shopping cart.

In another variant, the control takes place via a steering linkage, which connects the runner and foot control in the area of ​​the foot straps.

Another simple option is to design the steering skid as a bracket or ball, which only slide on the ice and are controlled via sail pressure (drop or luff). The disadvantage of this system is that as soon as there is solid snow, the ability to steer is restricted.

Advantages of ice surfers

Can be driven like a race board, very fast, planes very early, provided the runners are precisely adjusted. Good control with the foot control at very high speed.

Disadvantages of ice surfers

More complex to build, heavy and the dimensions no longer fit into the station wagon. Because of the high speed you need larger ice surfaces.

Further equipment for competitions

There are three different sail sizes. In addition, the competition rules prescribe the wearing of a protective helmet , knee, hip and elbow protectors are recommended.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. History of Eissurf competition on (English); accessed on February 27, 2015.
  2. A young sport becomes popular ; accessed on February 27, 2015.