No go-slow for snow-sailing USC researcher - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

USC News

No go-slow for snow-sailing USC researcher

27 Feb 2020

What does a USC researcher do when he arrives in rural Finland in February for an annual snow-sailing competition, only to feel the winds drop and the temperature rise above zero, making conditions either dangerous or impossible?

He goes for it anyway.

USC’s intrepid academic Dr Adrian McCallum, who specialises in the geomechanics of snow and ice, recently returned from his adventure with Brisbane entrepreneur Charles Werb to the five-day Ice and Snow Sailing World Championships.

The only two Australians at the event, they took the chance to showcase the capabilities of Mr Werb’s wind-powered Snowsailer vehicle, despite conditions that were warmer and calmer than expected, even after the race was moved from Estonia to Lestijarvi in Finland.

“Once the wind came up, away we went, for miles upon miles across the frozen ice,” said Dr McCallum, a Senior Lecturer in Geotechnical Engineering.

“It was an exhilarating experience and I was thrilled to be travelling in the capsule at speed for the first time.”

The Snowsailer, which can reach more than 60km/h, is a person-sized capsule with a large sail on top and three snowboards with runners underneath.

“It’s totally wind-powered, environmentally friendly and protects you from the elements, and I’m hoping I can sail with Charles on an Antarctic expedition, carrying my ground-penetrating radar to measure snow and ice thickness,” Dr McCallum said.

“Researching the polar regions is vital because they are the ‘canary in the coal mine’ for climate change.”

The Aussie team mixed with more than 90 competitors from 14 countries at the event presented by the World Ice and Snow Sailing Association. Racers used sleds powered by windsurfing rigs, hand-held sails and tethered kite sails that were able to operate in lighter winds.

Related articles

Benefits for reef water quality and grazing in joint project
2 Jun

Research by a USC PhD graduate that used the latest drone-based remote sensing techniques to investigate sediment sources to the Great Barrier Reef is the catalyst for a joint project by the University and Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO.

Spartans swimmers training at the USC aquatic centre
Spartans to restart campaign for Tokyo glory
15 May

The USC Spartans will soon restart their Olympic and Paralympic campaigns, following the easing of some COVID-19 restrictions across Queensland this weekend.

USC leads Australian study into exercise during pandemic
7 May

Health science experts from USC have been chosen to lead the Australian arm of a study into how physical activity levels have been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact the USC media team

Name Position Email Phone
Terry Walsh Manager, Media and Messaging twalsh@usc.edu.au +61 7 5430 1160
Janelle Kirkland Media Relations Coordinator jkirklan@usc.edu.au +61 7 5459 4553
Clare McKay Media Relations Officer (Regional) cmckay@usc.edu.au +61 7 5456 5669

Search results for

Recent news