Dominik Gührs looks upwards in awe. Towering above him is the 60-metre-high Skógafoss, one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland. According to legend, Vikings hid treasure in the cave behind it. The story goes that the huge volume of water that plunges down the face of the cliff protects the loot. The surroundings are shrouded in mist and
the air is so cold that it’s difficult to breathe. Gührs kneels down, picks up a handful of pitch-black stones and lets them trickle through his fingers. He watches meditatively as they fall back to the ground. The sound they make is inaudible against the deafening roar of the waterfall.
This is not Dominik Gührs’ usual environment. The Munich-based athlete is more often found at the beach. He spends his winters in Thailand or Bali to keep in shape. A two-time world champion, he is one of the best wakeboarders in the world. Even more significant on the wakeboarding scene are his three victories in the World Cup, in which only the best athletes from each country are allowed to compete.
Extreme athlete and adventurer
The secret to his success is his unparalleled ability to perform at his best when it really counts. “I’ve always been very competitive,” he says, and it has been this way since the very beginning, when he was just getting started at the wakeboarding facilities around Munich. This included when it came to learning the tricks of the true masters. “I practised and practised until I could do it better,” he says. Gührs is the kind of person who just keeps getting back up, no matter how many times he falls off.
He loves pushing himself to his physical limits – and beyond. When he hits the kickers that rise out of the water on his board and performs his tricks, for a brief moment he almost seems weightless. “That triggers an impulse in me, and gives me that extra kick,” he says, describing the sensation that gives him his drive.
The 32-year-old is not, however, just an extreme athlete – he is also an adventurer. He travels the world with his boards in tow, typically on the move for about 200 days a year, always in search of a new challenge. “The competitions are one thing,” he says. But nowadays he’s interested in more than just the next victory. “It’s about creating something unique. Something that has never existed before. Something that might even interest my grandma,” he continues with a laugh.
His ‘toeside backside 1080’ sees him do three full spins. For laypeople, it’s difficult to imagine just how difficult that is. And yet when Gührs barrels through the famous floating markets of Bangkok, performing his tricks, the effect is breathtaking.
Now he has come to Iceland with another adventure in mind, in search of places where no wakeboarder has been before. The bronzed beach boy is standing bundled up on the coast. The thermometer reads 17 degrees Celsius. The locals call it the height of summer. “I guess it’s not going to get any warmer,” he says. Nor does it ever get completely dark. When the sun goes down around 23:00, it only dips behind the horizon for a short spell. It reappears at about 02:00. Now it’s starting to rain as well. “Doing a tour in Iceland feels like travelling on a different planet,” he says.
Accompanied by the Taycan Cross Turismo
Gührs gets into the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo and sets off. The acceleration of the electric motor presses him into the seat. The tow rope that he normally holds onto in the water quickly gets his wakeboard up to a speed of roughly 40 km/h. He loves the acceleration. “But it’s nothing compared to the Taycan,” he says. “This is a totally different kettle of fish than anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
The Porsche is the ideal companion for him on his quest to find the best spots, with his board safely stowed in the luggage compartment. With the relatively short distances in Iceland, the vehicle’s range of up to 500 kilometres (WLTP) is more than sufficient. There’s also a wide charging network: the next station is never more than 80 km away. With its unique natural environment and geothermal resources, Iceland is the land of renewable energy sources. Energy is omnipresent here, and in many cases – such as the famous geysers – is visible to the naked eye. Nearly all of the countrys’ energy requirements are covered by sustainable sources.
Gührs travels now take him through the mountains of Landmannalaugar. The Cherry Metallic paintwork of the Taycan forms yet another contrast against the vivid-coloured tundra of the island’s highlands. The fact that the roads here are neither paved nor graded isn’t a problem thanks to the car’s greater ground clearance and the optional Off-Road Design package. “The Taycan is super versatile and makes for an outstanding ride even under these difficult conditions,” says Gührs.
He turns his eyes to the rear-view mirror and sees sand swirling up above a hill behind the car. “Are there sandstorms in Iceland?” he asks doubtfully. As the cloud comes closer, it becomes clear that this is not the case.
A ranger is on the move in the steppe with her 80 horses. The animals don’t seem to be shy. They come so close to the car that they could be petted if the window was open. Aside from the sound of the tyres rolling over the sandy ground, only the hooves of the galloping horses is audible. It makes the scene even more striking. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he says with astonishment.
As quickly as the horses made their way through the landscape, Gührs has reached his destination: Skógafoss. His thoughts are now as clear as the ice-cold water. “We’ll do it here. I will ride through the waterfall,” he says, pointing to the curtain of water falling in front of the cliff. He turns, walks back to the Taycan parked at the side of the road and pulls his wakeboard out of the luggage compartment. The tourists gathered at the falls look on incredulously, as if to ask: “He’s not really going to get on his board here, is he?”. That, however, is exactly what he intends to do. It will be his most spectacular video yet.
About Dominik Gührs
At the age of 10, Gührs’ parents took him to a sporting goods store to buy a skateboard. When they left, he was carrying his first wakeboard under his arm. More than 20 years later, he has achieved everything in his sport that it is possible to achieve. Born in Munich, the 32-year-old is a two-time WWA world champion and has won the World Cup three times. He is regarded as the inventor of the ‘toeside backside 1080’. In the finals of the 2010 world championship he became the first wakeboarder to perform the trick successfully in a competition.
Text first published in the Porsche magazine Christophorus, No. 404.
Author: Kevin Schuon
Photos: Tom Klocker, Dan Deak Bardos
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