Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Windsurfer becomes first to test skills in Alaskan waters
Gazing up at the ominous mass of ice above this wind surfer got a little more than he bargained for when he decided to test his skills in the icy waters of Alaska.
Surfing just yards from the unstable 150 metre high walls of the Chenega glacier pro windsurfer Florian Jung became the first man ever to windsurf in the barren wilderness of Alaskan waters.
Facing Arctic winds and water temperatures of just one degree Celsius Mr Jung achieved a life long dream.
"I have always dreamed of windsurfing near a glacier," said the 24-year-old German. "No one else has surfed in front of the glaciers in Alaska before and I wanted to be the first.
"I normally surfs big waves in Hawaii and when I revealed my dream to a surfing friend back in Hawaii, he told me it couldn't be done. So I put my 1972 VW van on the line and off I went."
Flying out to the small town of Whittier in the glacier region of Alaska in August, Mr Jung set about his unusual adventure accompanied by a marine biologist in a boat.
He said: "The population there is only 183 and when we arrived they couldn't believe what we were attempting to do."
Measuring one mile in length the Chenega Glacier is highly unstable with giant ice rocks breaking off and crashing into the water almost every half an hour.
"I studied the region and talked to a lot of scientists about the clima-change and what happens with the glaciers there at the moment," said Mr Jung.
"I am used to travelling from one sunny surf-spot to the next.
"When you see a glacier calving it is very impressive – but very dangerous. If an ice rock fell too close to myself or the boat then it could prove to be fatal for everyone."
Mr Jung wore a special thermo neoprene-suit to cope with the 1-2 Celsius water temperature.
Chenega Glacier is a tidewater glacier located in Prince William Sound and on the Kenai Peninsula in the American state of Alaska.
The glacier is a tourist attraction, drawing many kayakers and small cruise lines to Nassau Fjord where the glacier meets the ocean.
Article from "http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3813392/Windsurfer-becomes-first-to-test-skills-in-Alaskan-waters.html"