Flying Dutchman Duncan Zuur spent a hectic week in South America armed only with his wakeboard, a winch and a get-away car. We caught up with wakeboarding’s biggest thrill seeker during a manic day in Buenos Aires.
Duncan tells us about his mission to bring wakeboarding to the people, even if it some of those people turn out to be the police...
Well Duncan, not exactly a typical trip to South America?
On no, on the weekend I rode outside the Congress building in Brasilia and today I’ve been all over Buenos Aires. The day’s first ride was down at the docks in Puerto Madero and now I have just been riding in a fountain here in the neighbourhood of Palermo. Just another crazy, crazy day.
The stunts you’ve pulled off in the past include wakeboarding through St. Mark’s Square in Venice and the helicopter tow along Amsterdam’s canals, is madness your motivation?
The big incentive for me to ride in Brasilia was the fact that the place had no connection with wakeboarding at all. It would have been too easy to pull off a stunt on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro but riding in Brasilia showed people that wakeboarding can be done anywhere.
Before you came along Brasilia was famous for grey suits rather than wetsuits, what were your thoughts on Brazil’s capital city?
My only other time in South America was a trip to Rio for a Wakeboard World Championships, now that city is hectic and packed. Brasilia is a different thing completely. It gave me the vibe of Washington D.C. with the park and lake surrounded by government buildings. I rode across the 100 metre lake right outside the Brazilian National Congress and the Justice Department buildings.
When we turned up at the place it hard to concentrate on the stunt because the place was just so impressive. The whole city is only 50 years old and was all built by one architect, Oscar Niemeyer. The lake I rode has been designed to reflect the buildings around it and I felt like I was stepping onto a piece of art. It was definitely a cool place for the stunt, Brasilia has its own unique vibe and we managed to incorporate that into the ride.
'We didn't stop until we couldn't hear the police anymore'
So Duncan, you simply walked up to Congress Building in Brazil with your wakeboard under your arm. How were you able to pull off the stunt so smoothly?
Our plan was to set-up the winch at one end of the lake to pull me across from the other side. When you’re doing these stunts the planning needs to be good because often you only get one shot at it. The ride went smoothly, I cut up the lake with my board and reached the other side no problem. When I was out of the lake we packed up the winch and got back in the van, we were talking about the stunt when we heard police sirens coming up from behind us. The guy behind the wheel just started driving and didn’t stop until we couldn’t hear the police anymore.
So after making your mark in Brasilia and then leaving in a hurry, what came next?
We just carried on driving until we hit Buenos Aires, it was good to get here because we needed some time to test out the winch. A couple of local guys we met also helped us make a kicker, the one we just used for a few jumps in the boating lake.
From the Brazilian Congress to a boating lake in Buenos Aires, not exactly locations you would immediately associate with wakeboarding?
Just like the stunts in Venice and Amsterdam as well as riding on top of skyscraper in Vienna and crossing the Marmara Sea, this is stuff I really like to do. The thing about wakeboarding competitions is they are always a very local set-up, everybody knows each other and you don’t see too many new faces on the scene. The sport is definitely growing and that is a very positive thing but I know we still have to show more and more people what wakeboarding is all about.
Pulling off these crazy stunts brings with it a certain amount of media attention, today we had an Argentinian news crew track us down. This helps the sport reach a whole new audience who may never have heard of wakeboarding or thought it was not accessible to them. By showing people how easy it is to enjoy the sport I hope more and more people will start wakeboarding. The competitions are fun but anything like this, a bit weird and a bit wacky, is cool for me. Wherever I am I like to look at Google Maps, find a patch of blue and then go and ride on it.
'Wherever I am I like to look at Google Maps, find a patch of blue and then go and ride on it'
It doesn’t sound like they show you where the police stations are on Google Maps, you got some more unwanted attention in Buenos Aires?
It all started with the first ride down in Puerto Madero, because we wanted to ride under the Puente de la Mujer (Women’s Bridge) it meant we were close to this massive naval police station. When we got in the water this speed boat full of police officers in bright orange jumps suits came towards us. I thought because of their orange clothes they had just come to say hello to the visiting Dutchman. They started asking some pretty serious questions and it looked like I wouldn’t be able to ride.
I told the police that the next king of Holland is married to Máxima who is from Argentina. We all agreed that Máxima is pretty hot and I think that helped get the show on the road. After some sweet talking they said I had 30 minutes to do the stunt.
With Duncan waving good-bye to Buenos Aires and South America after once again bringing wakeboarding to the people, who knows where he will turn up next? Police stations around the world are advised to run a quick check on Google Maps to see if they could be the next victim of a Duncan Zuur wakeboard attack.