American Justin Howard – who goes by his stage name ‘Nordic Thunder’ – has reigned supreme in the art of invisible shredding, winning this year’s World Air Guitar Championship in Oulu, Finland.
Contestants in the annual competition – which has been staged in Oulu since 1966 – are judged on their ability to pretend to strum rock or heavy-metal electric solos, minus the actual instrument.
Chicago-based Howard scored 34.6 points, finishing just over two points clear of fellow American Matt “Aristole’ Burns on 34.3, with Netherlands’ Theun de Jong – aka “Tremelo Theun” – finishing third.
It was Howard’s second attempt at the title after competing as American champion at last year’s world titles. Reuters reports that Howard won over the judges with his energetic performance – in which he slid across the stage bare legged at various points.
“I feel amazing, I feel loved, I feel like crying and laughing and hugging,” Howard told Reuters after winning both the title and the prize of a handmade electric guitar.
Along with the crazy moves, the contestants outfits were also quite a talking point, with several featuring items such as leather straps, tight and bright pants, and fake blood for their 60-second performance.
Here’s Howard’s award-winning routine: