Jan 29, 2013
Author: Red Bull Press Release
Brandon Bay, Ireland, January 28, 2013 - 10 of the world’s best windsurfers from eight countries completed a demanding competition in Kerry, Ireland during the first mission of the Red Bull Storm Chase – the most-challenging windsurfing contest of all time. Despite recorded storm-force gusts of up to 74 knots (137kmh) and fierce 20-ft waves, the sailors completed three rounds of competition in two locations on the Maharees peninsular. After possibly the most radical day in windsurfing history, Marcilio Browne, Dany Bruch, Victor Fernandez, Robby Swift, Julien Taboulet and Thomas Traversa advance to the second Mission of Red Bull Storm Chase.
Kicking-off at first light, the Professional Windsurfers’ Association (PWA) World Tour Head Judge Duncan Coombs, Red Bull Storm Chase Sports Director Klaas Voget and local Guest Judge Timo Mullen decided on a 10-minute heat format, with each competitor’s best scores in both wave riding and jumping counting. Five two-man heats were drawn and the tension rose as the enormity of the task ahead of the sailors sank in at a Brandon Bay beach known to windsurfers as ‘Dumps’.
Barely able to walk their equipment down the beach even the most experienced windsurfers present questioned if even launching was possible. First to make an impression was 23-year old German Leon Jamaer who launched into a barrage of high, floaty jumps and wave rides among the endless walls of white water and open wave faces topping 20ft. Another European, Thomas Traversa managed to throw in a perfect wave 360 over the savage shore-dump to the judges’ delight. The French sailors proved to be on-fire as Julien Taboulet raised the bar with a barrage of sky-high combo jumps such as extreme, delayed table-top forward loops. Germany’s Dany Bruch also notched a table-top forward and scored the most hang-time with a stratospheric jump as lasting seven seconds. Moroccan aerial specialist Boujmaa Guilloul got in on the act too with the full gambit of forward and backward combination rotations. With only borrowed gear due to airline delays, it was a frustrating day for Danish talent Kenneth Danielsen who struggled to show his full potential without familiar equipment in the testing environment.
Although the entrants were throwing caution to the wind both on and above the water, they were all issued with padded ION impact protection clothing and were equipped with Weatherdock GPS devices delivering real-time tracking. Watching over them during heats were expert Sea-Doo Personal Watercraft safety drivers while a storm-proof Heimplanet tent provided shelter on the beach as raging gusts of cross-onshore wind and hail showers ripped through.
With several former World Champions in-the-mix, the standard of competition would be pushed even further. Robby Swift (GBR) made the benchmark move of the contest with a perfect, dry-landed, pushloop-forward combo. More adrenaline-fuelled moves followed and Brazilian Marcilio Browne wowed the judging panel with a technical and stylish Goiter rotation during a wave ride – especially impressive considering the difficulties involved in making genuine turns in such strong wind. After two rounds and a GoPro Expression Session free-sail, the judging crew then threw in another challenge by re-locating to the sideshore wind and bone-crunching reef known as Hell’s Gate.
Mast-and-a-half high waves exploded onto stone as the sailors coped with wind gusting from 40-74 knots. Now fenced in by treacherous rocky islands and cliff-edged shoreline a different test was on the table. As they dodged closing-out set waves in the third and final round, timing was critical to scoring a steep ramp with adequate speed in the run-up. This was no problem for Tenerife-based Dany Bruch who threw down an enormous, extremely delayed forward loop and calmly posted a backside 360 on a wave. Julien Taboulet showed little fear as he flew off thick slabs of water and carved the powerful surf to shreds, as did Thomas Traversa and Robby Swift who both landed combination moves. In terms of overall impression the pedigree of the two waveriding World Champions present - Victor Fernandez (ESP) and Josh Angulo (CPV) – shone through brightly. Both displayed superior wave selection with linked turns and aerials conjured out of nowhere. As the light faded the six highest scoring sailors to successfully qualify for Mission 2 – Dany Bruch, Marcilio Browne, Victor Fernandez, Robby Swift, Julien Taboulet and Thomas Traversa - were paraded as an unforgettable day came to an end.
Red Bull Storm Chase, Results First Mission, Brandon Bay, Ireland:
(The top six sailors from the first mission will compete in the second mission)
1. Thomas Traversa (France)
2. Dany Bruch (Germany)
3. Julien Taboulet (Spain)
4. Marcilio Browne (Brazil)
5. Victor Fernandez (Spain)
6. Robby Swift (United Kingdom)
7. Boujmaa Guilloul (Morocco)
8. Josh Angulo (Cape Verde)
9. Leon Jamaer (Germany)
10. Kenneth Danielsen (Denmark)
Remaining Red Bull Storm Chase competition grounds (2 will be surfed):
Cape Hatteras/US-East Coast, USA
South West Coast, Iceland
Omaezaki/South East Coast, Japan
North West Coast, Tasmania
Contest Period I: January 10 – March 22, 2013 (2 missions)
Contest Period II: July 22 – September 10, 2013 (1 final mission)