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Russian Ice Blockers

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Russian Ice BlockersYou’re about to read about a group of 12 Russians that redefine the word dedication when it comes to wakeboarding. Frozen water usually puts a stop to hitting the water for most people, but these guys look at it as an opportunity.

The idea was to build a winch park in the middle of nowhere. That doesn’t mean they found an empty field next door. These guys set out on the frozen Gulf of Finland and traveled across four kilometers of ice to an abandoned island that is home to a military fortress called Fort Obruchev, which has been deserted for nearly 60 years. Fort Obruchev is located in Russian territory and was a military satellite of the famous Kronshtadt Fortress that was built in 1703 by Peter the Great.

This group of lunatics arrived on the island fully prepared to spend at least three nights. They were loaded down with gear including generators, fuel, chainsaws, water pumps, 200 kilos of construction materials, tents, firewood, food, water, stoves and lots of other things you need to be able to survive out there for four days.

Russian Ice BlockersTo get out to the island they utilized a Canadian cross-country vehicle, but it still took them nearly half of the first day to get everything and everyone delivered to the island. The first three of those four days were spent getting their winch setup ready to go. Much of the time was spent cutting the ice, which appears to be about a foot thick, into blocks to be used as hits or for the pool. Not only do they have to cut it and move it, but the next morning they have to remove the new ice that formed overnight as well. It looks like those chainsaws got a workout!

Clearing space for the pools involves cutting the ice over the water into manageable chunks and then either pulling each chunk out of the water and dragging it away or pushing the chunks underneath the remaining ice. It’s definitely a group effort and can be pretty dangerous. While trying to sink the ice, it’s easy to fall into the water, so there’s usually someone there to look after each person doing the sinking.

Russian Ice BlockersI know it’s hard to believe, but I’m told that alcohol also had a small part in making this project successful. According to Mikhail Boyarskow, “On a trip like this you need some strong spirits to warm you up and help you fall asleep... and sometimes help your hangover in the morning.”

The initial idea was to have three ice pools with six different obstacles; a 12-stair drop from the wall of the fortress, one fun box, a wall ride, two sliders and a kicker. Vladimir Kuchin was the first to try the 4.5-meter drop. Unfortunately, this brave trail blazer injured his leg in the process, so the others decided to skip that portion of the setup.

Adding to the danger (and fear) Russian Ice Blockersfactor was the sound of cracking ice that was heard while they were riding the setup. Apparently the ice features were very heavy and they eventually started sinking and breaking the ice on which everyone was standing! They could actually see and hear the ice crushing around the island, which, understandably, made some of them want to get home as quickly as possible.

The long days of work and the quickly cracking ice left them with very little time to ride and shoot on the last day of their adventure. However, the photos and video they did come up with are amazing. They are working on a full-length video, Go Bl!nd, that will feature all the riding from their trip. Check out GoBlindMovie.ru for updates. Go Bl!nd should be out this summer. Meanwhile, enjoy the teaser and the photos below.




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