WHERE THERE’S A WINCH, THERE’S A WAY
by Brian Terhorst
Josh Sleigh is the man behind (and out in front of) The Sleigh Winch. Josh and his machine are well known by athletes imbedded in action sports….not so much by the general public. The Winch can be a substitute for waves at the beach or a tow for ‘Lift Less’ snowboarders. You can use it (instead of a boat) in the bays, lakes or rivers. You can use it in a flat parking lot filled with a few inches of water for the coolest rail jam around. Leave it up to the ingenuity and imagination of a few adrenaline starved stunt junkies to come up with the latest and greatest use for the Sleigh Winch.
For most of you the easiest way to see the machine in action, is at any one of the Revolt Summer Surf Series events. Josh Sleigh has been showing up and running professional Winch demos at the RSSS events for the past few years. Always a crowd pleaser, these demo’s get the crowd on their feet. Although the sport definitely has room for error, Josh and his posse of professionals run every one of their demos with the mindset of ‘safety first’. The crowd is strictly controlled and the water is closely monitored while one rider at a time demonstrates the absolute balls-out capabilities of the Sleigh Winch. To see a rider towed at a high speed toward the oncoming waves, release, then knock the top off a wave like no other or boost amazing heights off the wave, is nothing shy of…sick.
The Sleigh Winch has an adjustable hand throttle allowing you to vary the towing speed, a hydraulic brake for quick and easy stops/safety and a rope friendly roller system allowing you to tow from almost any forward angle The Sleigh Winch is designed to fit a 2” receiver hitch on any vehicle and also comes ready for bottom side wheel mounts. Meaning it can be set up just about anywhere you can imagine.
The Sleigh Winch towing device has been designed with a 6.5, 7 & 9 hp gasoline engines in mind and a drive clutch that exceeds the usual 1:1 ratio of a standard operating system, allowing for a 90:1 overdrive. Which makes it ideal for deep-water starts. It can run all-day on about a gallon of fuel. The spool can hold up to 2,000 feet of high tension polypropylene line and is fitted with a wake-board or water ski type handle. The housing is all aluminum but can also be ordered in steel.
They’re not really a new idea, but winches are going to straight blow up in 2010. Why? Because guys like Josh Sleigh. Desperate times call for desperate measures and if you can’t afford a boat, then you’re going to have to figure out another way to get yer shred on.
RIS: Josh who is in your crew these days?
JS: Depends on who’s town. Lately I’ve been winching/riding with my younger half brother Gabe Homan & his crew. Or a couple other cats like Charlie Stevens & Josh Buran. From time to time I get calls from some wakeskaters like Nick Taylor or Reed Hanson. Which, I am stoked! Cause these guys all rip, are young & responsible & know how to ride hard. So for the Sleigh Winch brand & getting direct feedback on designs. I could not be more thankful. It’s enabling me to build a solid product with performance in mind & get pushed hard as an athlete.
RIS: What are the latest updates on you machine / business?
JS: Right now, I’m getting ready to go to market. So I’m really excited. And that entails a lot & I am working a full time job to boot. And of course putting a lot effort towards the RSSS events. You guys have enable me to show everyone how safe winching really is. I keep pushing hard for this great new sport, it’s the future for high octane surf events.
RIS: How does the RSSS locations compare with other spots?
JS: It’s really a special set up. Just the atmosphere alone. Having a pier to winch off of is about as good as it gets. Plus, the people on the pier… as you come flying out to the wave. Hearing them scream with excitement makes you just want to push it that much harder, you know, to try things you usually might not try at a surfing event. The RSSS I feel is ahead of all other surf events by having winch surfing. It’s about as forward & into the future as you can get.
RIS: What is the craziest thing you’ve done w/ the Winch so far?
JS: I don’t know about crazy, but in terms of what you can do with the winch its limitless. Snow, Surf, Wake, Skate, you name it. If you have one you can enjoy these sports. So, to me, that’s the craziest part about winching. That & just setting up & watching your bro’s tear things apart on days you normally would not ride, is crazy!
RIS what is the latest thing you want to do with the Sleigh Winch?
JS: For me its just getting things rolling with the brand. Coordinating/ riding heaps of events with all things boarding. And really pushing the event side.
RIS How have the police & lifeguards reacted so far!
JS: They’ve acted accordingly. Its a new sport & they are curious. But everyone that’s witnessed it gets really excited & intrigued. It just blows ‘em away due to it just being so simple. It really is an amazing thing to witness. PLus, I want those guys around & I want to bring them business & have them come enjoy us & the sport & its progression. Not to forget, giving back to good causes & charities by doing cool events with demo’s to attract people that might not care about board sports.
RIS: Cost? Where can I get one?
JS: Right now you can go to Sleigh Winch.Com. Excuse the mess as I’m constantly changing & updating things as I go along. You might have to make a phone call & talk with me personally And as far as price goes they are $2100. – but that’s with all the bells & whistles. I’m also working on some cheaper designs to make it more affordable in the future.
RIS Last but not least- I know you have a new addition to the Sleigh family. what’s it like to be a dad?
JS: It is the best thing life has to offer. I wish I would of done it sooner. It makes life so much more colorful. And I am super excited & even more driven it seems now to live & push life to that next successful level – what ever it might be. And for me that is Sleigh-Winching my brains out for years to come