Thomas Traversa heeft de Red Bull Storm Chase gewonnen na een zinderende derde missie in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Hiermee heeft de Fransman bewezen dat hij de de beste windsurfer is die om kan gaan met stormachtige omstandigheden. Marcilio Browne uit Brazilië wist de tweede plek veilig te stellen, de Duitser Leon Jamaer volgde hem op de voet met een derde plaats.

Lees even onderstaand persbericht door voor een uitgebreid verslag. Binnenkort zal er ook een video met alle hoogtepunten van deze unieke wedstrijd verschijnen, houd hiervoor de site van Red Bull Storm Chase in de gaten. Natuurlijk kan je deze ook even hieronder bekijken, voor het gemak hebben we de eerste highlights alvast in dit artikel opgenomen.

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Red Bull Storm Chase has delivered a new era of windsurfing performance. Previously, nobody thought it was possible to even sail in the strength of storm-force winds that each mission delivered. But after seeing just how radical the world’s best sailors are, how high they could jump – and the quality and style of the waveriding on display, a new standard has been set. Neither cold water, wind in excess of 70 knots or giant, bone-crunching swell has deterred any of the superhero sailors on each mission.

For the final mission, England’s West Country supplied near Hurricane-force wind and 10-metre waves that fully tested the world’s best windsurfers, including the current World Champion, Marcilio Browne. After summoning the entrants from their training bases in South Africa, Hawai’i and the Canary islands, five rounds were run over February 8/9th at two locations in St. Ives Bay.

On Saturday, a grueling onshore-wind session at Gwithian saw two rounds of competition completed in massive swell. It was no surprise then, following some more conservative starts by his rivals in the relentless walls of whitewater, to see Traversa the first to scream straight out the back, launch himself into a range of stratospheric jumps, including some seriously delayed forward loops – and then drop into a 35-foot wave coming in. Competition was restricted to just two rounds due to the powerful storm surge pushing the tide in fast, before a move to nearby spot The Bluff, which offered side to side-off, port-tack conditions with surf peaking at well over mast-high. This time however, the 28-year-old from the South of France had stiffer competition from his rivals to contend with. A barrage of jaw-dropping, late hits from all four finalists under the dredging sandbank closeouts ensued, the daring smacks resulting in both stunning success and a pile of destroyed equipment.

On Sunday the wind levels were lower, but the powerful surf remained and a full round completed in the morning delighted fans of jumping moves, such as the perfect, high, pushloop-forward completed by ‘Brawzinho’ Browne and a host of other super-high jumps launched off 20-foot-high ramps. The judges calculated the points – counting each sailor’s best five wave and jumping scores from throughout the mission – and added their bonus points for the highest jumps and most radical wave rides before declaring Traversa victorious.

A mighty winter low-pressure system kicked-off the Red Bull Storm Chase in Ireland back in January 2013. Ten publically nominated pro sailors competed in 70-knot winds in County Kerry and redefined what was previously thought possible that windsurfers could achieve in such strong wind. After sessions at two spots in Brandon Bay, four were eliminated and six advanced, when the call came to Mission 2 in Tasmania.

There, the austral winter served-up a fierce Great Southern Ocean cyclone that sent double-mast-high waves and seriously strong wind towards the North West Coast near Marrawah. Two days of non-stop competition, in a range of hard-core reef setups, allowed the judging panel – lead by PWA World Tour Head Judge Duncan Coombs – to fully examine the fleet and decide which four storm chasers would advance to the third and final mission.

Much has been said – mainly by his contemporaries – about Thomas Traversa, who weighs-in at just 60 kilos, being a heavyweight contender in seriously strong wind. Traversa is a calm quiet personality, but, out on the water he is simply fearless and lets his sailing do all his talking. Always well-known as a radical free sailor and adventurer, the prestigious Red Bull Storm Chase title rewards his progress in all competition in recent seasons. Many pro windsurfers pursue perfect waves in warm, tropical water, yet Traversa is a genuine storm chaser that revels in tracking and conquering the heaviest conditions possible.