Photoshooting with one of the world’s best wakeskater Brian Grubb was something completely unusual and different. Whenever such projects are finished and when I look at the photographs my first thought is “Challenges never end!” Very difficult weather conditions and the challenge of the project itself were sufficient at the very beginning. Regardless of the difficulties, a great team and great energy all of us had contributed to yet another unique and never seen before project with a spectacular materials!
In early February, Bjelasnica accommodated Brian Grubb, a pioneer of Wakeskating athlete with the highest number of medals in this sport. This American from Florida, in constant search for challenges, didn’t intended to try the ski slalom or downhill. Instead, he wanted to move his summer sport into a completely new environment – in the wild winter beauty of Bjelasnica.
When Brian saw photographs of Winter creek near the village Umoljani on Bjelasnica, he was fascinated by the sight of this unique stream that meanders through endless valley on Bjelašnička plateau. It did not take long for him to decide to come to this location and go for a wakeskate ride.
Wakeskating is water based sport emerged as an adaptation of wakeboarding in which the legs are not tied to a board, allowing greater freedom of movement and performing tricks. If wakeboarding is the combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing, then Wakeskating is closer to “skating on the water”. Driver is usually rope pulled by motor boat or jet ski, but winches and circular systems of towing cables are also used.
Brian and his team stayed breathless when they saw snowy valley whose whiteness was carved by the only line of the creek, just like the trail snakes leave in the sand. They found out the reason why locals refer to Winter creek also as the Dragon’s tail. Legend says that the dragon went to attack the village and its tail left a mark made into a Winter creek. The villagers were praying for the salvation and the dragon was turned into stone, and the shape of his head can still be seen in the rock at the bottom of the hill on which the villagers fled.
Preparation of the track was not an easy task, but the team still managed it, and then it was Brian’s turn to show what he can do. Winch and rope dragged him, and he rode his board on the deep snow, and on the water, and again went to the snow, and jumped again into the water – all the time he was performing some of his favorite tricks. It was a mixture of Wakeskating, snowboarding and… well, something that still yet has no name?
The biggest challenge was the weather that was changing several times a day, from bright snow to completely sunny weather in just a few hours. However, after seven days of frost and effort, everything paid off: Brian was more than pleased with his rides and tricks that he performed, and the team was happy with superb pictures and video recordings that were made and that will certainly be a good promotion of natural beauty and tourist potential of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This exciting and unique project drew some attention to the worldwide media, so it got published on lots of newspapers, magazines, websites and various digital media… Among others my favorites are National Geographic’s Extreme Photo of the Week, and Red Bulletin’s Amazing Images of the Month.