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Overview
Grab your board and hit the beach - it's surfing time again. But instead of baggies and a tank top, you might want to put on a parka and thermal socks, because the kind of surfing we're talking about only happens on solid water. That's right, the topic is ice surfing, and it's the hottest sport on frozen lakes around the world. Ice surfing is really a hybrid sport, mixing the speed of ice boating with the agility and power of wind surfing. The ice surfing board is similar in size and shape to a big skateboard. Most boards have two blades in the back for stability and either one or two blades in the front to control the steering. Just like the wheels on a skateboard, the blades on an ice surfing board are mounted on flexible trucks so the rider can control the steering by leaning forward or backward while standing sideways on the board. As with ice skates and ice boats, the blades on the ice board are quite sharp on the bottom, putting a great deal of pressure on the ice below. This pressure, combined with the friction between blade and ice, causes some of the ice to melt directly below the blade. A thin film of water lubricates the ice under the blade, which helps it glide smoothly over the ice. This really cuts down on the drag and means that the ice surfer is actually riding on liquid water, not solid ice. Because there is far less friction involved, ice surfers can go much faster than wind surfers, often approaching speeds of 113 kilometers (70 miles) per hour. Just like wind surfers, ice surfers power up on an ice board by using a sail. In fact, most ice boards use the same type of sail as wind surfing boards. But because there is less friction on the ice, an ice surfer can get away with a much smaller sail. To make the board go, the rider sets her or his back to the wind and sheets in by pulling in on the boom - a bar attached to the bottom of the sail. As the sail catches the wind, the board starts moving forward. The highest speeds are attained when moving nearly perpendicular to the wind. By trimming the sail at the correct angle, the ice surfer can actually move almost three times faster than the wind itself. It's not possible to sail directly into the wind, but by tacking at an angle, surfers can zigzag across the wind, heading upwind little by little.

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