Every surfer dreams of riding the perfect wave. But it’s a rare breed who heads out into monster surf kicked up by a 100-year storm.
The premise behind the Red Bull Storm Chase, which the energy drink maker started in 2006, is a simple one: a global hunt to competitively windsurf in three storms blowing beyond Force 10.
To guarantee raging conditions, the Red Bull Storm Chase is mobile to the max, with two waiting periods and just 48 hours to mobilize competitors and global contest crew on-site before a storm strikes.
The event is touted on its Facebook page as “the most challenging windsurfing contest of all time.”
Judging from the footage from the final, held in February off Cornwall, England, they have delivered on that promise. With waves the height of buildings and wind gusts reaching 70 knots, novice windsurfers need not apply.
“The single worst wipeout had to go to Leon Jamaer, who really hit the water hard” is how crewmember Klaas Voget described the event. “But the king of poundings was Dany Bruch, who caught a series of waves right on the head. It was a lot of swimming.”
Despite weighing just 132 pounds, Frenchman Thomas Traversa won the final leg and was crowned champion of the storm-surfing universe.