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Petrifying 'Storm Chase' Event Makes its Return in 2017

Picture of Luke Bradshaw
Sports Editor
Updated: 16 January 2017
The first few months of 2017 see the planet’s most incredible windsurfing contest return, with the Red Bull Storm Chase taking place. Get ready for huge waves, gale-force winds and bravery of the highest order.

There will be 14 finalists in the competition, chasing storms across the globe in search of the toughest waves to windsurf. While winds of over 100 km/h are enough to send most people retreating to the comfort of the cosy indoors, for a select few it provides the opportunity to test themselves in a way unlike any other.

With previous competitors tackling huge waves in Cornwall and Ireland as well as Tasmania, the competitors are set for more mad global dashes this year with fans and riders able to propose locations. As the most challenging and unique windsurf contest of all time is back, the event is mobile and reactive, with the competitors and contest team waiting for a Force 10 storm to hit the Northern Hemisphere this winter.

None of the windsurfers know when or where each event will happen, with initial alerts going out just 120 hours before the potential start, assuming there is proximity to a major airport and safe access to the beach for staff and emergency personnel. Once the alert goes out, it is then up to the riders themselves to get to the storm – no matter where in the world it is – in time to compete.

Danny Bruch from Germany with a huge forward loop at Brandon Bay, Southern Ireland. | © Red Bull Content Pool
Danny Bruch from Germany with a huge forward loop at Brandon Bay, Southern Ireland | © Red Bull Content Pool

Once the green light is given 72 hours before the contest starts, riders will have 48 hours to be on site at the event location.
If it reaches a point where a rider can’t arrive (with all the gear that they need) then that rider will forfeit their place to another rider on the nominee list ahead of the ludicrous contest.

Riders include Thomas Traversa, Dany Bruch, Marcilio Browne and Leon Jamaer, all finalists from the last Storm Chase. In terms of judging, Professional Windsurfing Association Head Judge Duncan Coombs leads the panel, who will be looking for jump height as well as trick difficulty, along with the most stylish wave rides and timing-critical moves.

The waiting period ends March 12th and, if no suitable storm presents itself, the contest will not be held, so keep your fingers crossed and hope that Mother Nature rains down.

Dany Bruch from Germany performs at Tamma Harbour, Tasmania. | © Red Bull Content Pool
Dany Bruch from Germany performs at Tamma Harbour, Tasmania | © Red Bull Content Pool
Event participants performs at the Red Bull Storm Chase at Brandon Bay, Southern Ireland. | © Red Bull Content Pool
Event participants performs at the Red Bull Storm Chase at Brandon Bay, Southern Ireland | © Red Bull Content Pool