Stories // People

Surf vs. Snow

"…it sounds both crazy and genius"

At the beginning it was nothing more than an idea – what happens when you take surfing to the slopes and catch the wave on snow skis? Always ready to try something new, Willy Bogner invited the Maui-based ski and-surf pro, Chuck Patterson, and the Munich-born and bred surfing star Quirin Rohleder to give it a go. Accepting the challenge, the two pros got ready for their next adventure, which proved to be far more arduous than imagined.

Meet Chuck Patterson. The 45-year old sports’ superstar, who is an expert in more than one disciplines – from kite surfing to skiing and snowboarding – currently spends his time on the island on Maui in Hawaii, soaking up the sun and surfing the waves. Providing he’s not on his next heli-skiing trip!

1. What was your reaction when you heard about this photo shoot idea?
I can still remember that moment so well, when Willy called me and told me about his idea. I just thought, “Wow, this sounds kind of insane but also kind of cool and what I’d love to try.”

2. Your greatest challenge on location?
Probably, the fact that my feet were locked in the skis and the binding wouldn’t release even after lost my balance and fell in the water.

3. When was that break-through moment when you felt you got the hang of it?
I was surfing the wave, and when I wanted to make a turn, I instinctively used my ski poles – totally useless but somehow it made me feel instantly reassured and in control. You can say it was like an “aha” moment for me.

4. What does the name Willy Bogner mean to you?
Everybody knows Willy – his incredible achievements as a cinematographer and ski legend. What I admire most is his never-ending drive to keep trying out new things.

Legendary

Quirin Rohleder, dubbed as “Mister Eisbach”, after Munich’s world-famous surfing wave, made his first foray into this water sport at the tender age of 13.

Legendary.

Having mastered the Eisbach wave, he went on to polish on his skills at sea, later competing with the world champion and surfing legend Kelly Slater (and beating him in a contest!). Following a successful surfing career, the 41-year-old Rohleder is now based in his native Munich. An ace in his sport, he’s now coaching up-and-coming young surfers, teaching them his mastery and helping them to become pros. However, the surfing star remains humble of his accomplishments, saying that he wasn’t the first one to surf the Eisbach, but he was the first to define his own style.

"…an insane opportunity”"

1. What was your reaction when you heard about this photo shoot idea?
I’ve snowboarded without binding a couple of times before and thought that it would be an insane opportunity that’s not to be missed.

2. Any specific prior preparations?
Honestly, not really. I kind of thought I would just wing it when I’m there. I had no idea how challenging snow surfing would turn out to be.

3. What did it feel like?
Like snowboarding, but a lot more wobbly. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

4. What appealed to you most about this project?
I’m not the type of person who constantly needs to push his boundaries, but when someone like Willy Bogner invites you to try something that has never been done before, you can hardly say no.

Other Stories

>