Skiers have it tough. Riding next to snowboarders on the slope, they just look dorky. Vermont resident Jason Starr doesn't make it any easier with his new invention, called Surf Skiing, which brings the winter sport to the water.
Just like skiing, the new activity involves wearing separate equipment for each foot and holding on to something to push yourself on the water. Instead of sharp skis, you attach two boards to your feet, with a long paddle to propel yourself in stale water.
A former competitive skier, Starr believes that the sport of skiing and surfing share a bond - a sentiment most folks looking at the dorky equipment will probably find difficult to share. Regardless, he's just received a patent for the sport, with pending applications to do the same for both the board and the binding system it uses to latch on to your feet.
Does it look ridiculous? Yes. Is it fun? Probably. Will you put them on? Uhmmm...ahhhhh.... Just don't do it at crowded surf spots, unless you're looking to get your self-esteem trampled on.
From what I can understand, the principles behind the sport seem largely skiing-based, using waves as substitute for the slope and the paddle to keep moving when you're on "flats". The company formed to manufacture and sell it, Starr Surf Skis, is said to be recruiting well-known skiers to see how their skills translate in the water.
Those who want to try Surf Skiing can do it at Lake Champlain, with lessons provided by Burlington-based Paddle Surf Champlain. The actual products won't be available until 2010.