Red Bull Storm Chase tackles serious storm conditions in the North of Ireland – massive waves on tap for Tuesday!
Braving wind gusts up to 115kmh and endless battering seas, the world’s best storm windsurfers showed Ireland why they came!
March 10th – Waking up with a light dusting of snow covering the hills in County Donegal, in the North West corner of Ireland, eight of the world’s most adventurous and skilled windsurfers knew today was going to be epic. With wind already shaking the windows of their hastily-booked hotel rooms, there was no question: the storm that had been on the horizon was now here at Magheraroarty Beach.
As they assessed the situation on the beach, most sailors opted to rig sails around 3.7 sqm –with some of the bigger guys such as Philip Köster breaking out a 4.2 sqm. From the very start, there were face-stinging hailstorms and gusty winds, generally hovering between 30 –60 knots, approximately 55 – 110 kmh. Wave size easily reached mast-high – not the biggest they could handle, but plenty to work with. The biggest challenges? The temperature: hovering just over freezing for most of the day – making for some very cold hands and feet!
Riders competed in three rounds of short heats that had them out on the water for about 20 minutes. Although each heat wasn’t a head-to-head battle, they were limited to two riders for safety and ease of judging. During each heat, riders collect points for each jump and wave ride – at the end of competition, they’ll receive points on a 1 – 10 score for their top five scores from each category. A five point bonus will go to the single biggest jump of the entire contest and five points for the best wave ride.
Said first-time Red Bull Storm Chase competitor and current contest leader Philip Köster: “Itwas absolutely epic windsurfing – tricky, challenging and cold – but definitely epic!” Following Philip in the standings are Jaeger Stone, Leon Jamaer, and Thomas Traversa (in that order.) But with more waves and wind on the way, anyone could still grab the top spot!
While it was an epic and incredible day of competition, the event is far from over – while winds and waves take a quick break today, Monday, the forecast for ocean action is off the charts for Tuesday, with even more wind and much bigger waves headed their way. Be sure to tune in to Red Bull Storm Chase on Instagram and Facebook for updates from the beach.
Images by John Carter, Sebastian Marko & Jörg Mitter