RSBC: MISSON 3
60 knots and waves approaching 10 meters make for an epic phase one of mission #3
Cornwall, England, February 8th 2014 – The final Mission of Red Bull Storm Chase has started at the right places at the right time today in Cornwall, U.K., scoring two sessions at two gnarly spots that saw epic action in true storm conditions. The third and final mission of the series is now perfectly poised for a blockbuster finish on Sunday April 9th that will see the ultimate storm windsurfer crowned.
Red Bull Storm Chase Head Judge Duncan Coombs wasted no time in briefing the four remaining competitors – World Champion Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing / MFC) (BRA), Dany Bruch (Starboard / Challenger Sails / AL360) (GER), Leon Jamaer (JP / NeilPryde) (GER) and Mission 2 winner Thomas Traversa (Tabou / Gaastra) – and set 20-minute-long, two-man heats where sailors were judged on both their wave riding and jumping skills. The best five waves and jumps that each score during the entire mission count towards their final total along with additional bonus points awarded for height and the most radical waveriding approach. With wind reading showing 60-knot gusts and waves that built towards the 10-metre mark, the final four entrants of windsurfing’s most- challenging contest had more than their work cut out.
First up were Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne and Dany Bruch who started out conservatively in the early stages, getting to grips with the challenging conditions as a 30-foot-plus swell found it’s way into the St. Ives Bay beachbreak. Initially staying mostly on the inside, the action was nonetheless radical with Brazilian hero Browne immediately launching into a pushloop-forward, as Bruch flirted with the bone-crunching outer sandbank to the outside. After several brave attempts – including breaking a board in the process – Bruch was the first to make it out back and understandably took his time to pick off a suitable wave to make it back to dry land.
Perhaps with the benefit of watching first, Leon Jamaer and Thomas Traversa then launched into the ever-growing waves as the storm surge forced the tide to rise prematurely. They both focused on making it straight past impact zone, although not before launching into a few insanely high airs off the massive, steep walls of water approaching them. Traversa showed little fear as he flew into a stalled forward loop off the biggest peak in a set, before catching the biggest wave of the series, said to be ten metres or more by the judging panel – and all that breaking over a shifty, sandy bottom. Feedback from the adjudication panel stated that Traversa had the highest cumulative waveriding scores at this stage of Mission 3, but that both the bonus points for that single session were awarded to the 24-year-old German from Kiel for his amplitude in the air and his element of ‘attack’ in a wave 360 attempt.
As the water rose rapidly, the organisers opted to switch to an alternative nearby location at The Bluff. Again, Duncan Coombs wasted no time sending all four riders out again in squally, side to side- off, port-tack conditions that saw them all pick 3.7 square metre sails once again. Three further two- heat rounds were held until the close of play in mid afternoon. With set waves marching in at up to mast-and-a-half high – and gusts up to 50 knots tearing through – the conditions were certainly testing.
Proving the intensity of the environment – and the Red Bull Storm Chase challenge – was Dany Bruch, who fearlessly put both himself and his equipment on the line, suffering more gear loss by ripping a sail and snapping a mast extension as he threw himself into the pitching closeouts with several late off-the-lips. Marcilio Browne however, was having a better time of it and, to the delight of the sizeable crowd on The Bluff, displayed huge levels of control by completing double forward loop rotations, more pushloop-forward attempts – and some breathtaking late smacks off the powerful mast-high-plus shutdowns.
Leon Jamaer and Thomas Traversa followed in turn each alternative heat, raising the bar higher and higher each time with stylish linked turns and terrifyingly late, hard hits off the largest set waves that pounded relentlessly into the sandbar. Once again the judges scored the rides – even if featuring just one aerial manoeuvre – higher off the biggest waves than they did longer rides using the rail on smaller sets. By early afternoon, fatigue and cold was starting to set in as the swell size reduced with the tide and Duncan Coombs called-off further competition for the day.
The forecast for tomorrow is promising and competition is likely to start as early as possible once again before the overall winner of Red Bull Storm Chase Champion is announced.
Real-time mission reports from the athletes and crew members, latest information and stunning images from the Mission will be posted at www.redbullstormchase.com
About Red Bull Storm Chase
Red Bull Storm Chase is the most-challenging windsurfing contest of all time, with a waiting period that started back in August 2012. By hunting down three massive storms around the globe, ten of the world’s best sailors entered the battle for the crown of ultimate storm windsurfer. With waiting periods spanning the main global storm seasons, ten courageous windsurfers – nominated via public voting – were on standby to hunt down three massive storms, with seven previously nominated destinations featuring as possible competition spots. Four of the original fleet were eliminated during the first mission in Brandon Bay, Ireland, at the end of January 2013. From July 22, 2013, the six remaining windsurfers were on standby for the second mission, held in Tasmania, Australia, last August. Out of these six athletes, four emerged as qualifiers for the third and final mission to crown the victorious Red Bull Storm Chase Champion of 2014. To catch raging conditions, the participants have to be flexible-to-the-max during the holding period with just 48-hours to mobilise on-site before the next storm strikes.
http://www.redbullcontentpool.comQuotes Red Bull Storm Chase Finalists:
Marcilio “Brawzinho“ Browne, Storm Chaser (BRA)
“I was mostly on a 3.7 sail and my 84 litre board. The first beach was really hard but the second spot delivered really good conditions, especially when we got here at high tide. The waves had more wall and a good section to go for, but, as the tide dropped it was a closeout so you could get hurt easily as you have no place to go on the wave. But I had a great time and had fun and am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Dany Bruch, Storm Chaser (GER)
“It was just all against me today. The conditions were fine... but everything that could go wrong, went wrong for me... but [with regard to tomorrow’s final heats] I don’t want to just leave it like that.”
Leon Jamaer, Storm Chaser (GER)
“We had really, really big waves and kind of scary, messy conditions at the first spot, using 3.7 sail – fully overpowered. Then we moved to a second beach and scored really nice down-the-line wavesailing. It was a really good day, I got some good late hits – and some good late wipeouts also! Tomorrow will probably be a bit less wind and the surf a bit smaller but I definitely still need a few scores... I need quite a few jumps and then I’ll pick a few more waves and ride them well I hope.”
Thomas Traversa, Storm Chaser (FRA)
“To begin with I wasn’t really motivated or anything – it looked gnarly – and we tried the first spot, it was really like survival conditions and really big and not much you could do. Then we moved to the next spot that was really good. I mean it was perfect, we had three session each there! I had some good waves, I think. Yeah I’m happy, I had a competition good day, I had fun – and I did my best. The second spot was perfect, a really clean wave with no chop, side-off – not too offshore. I’s hard to tell what size the surf was from the water – maybe mast-high or more?”
Quote Red Bull Storm Chase Head Judge Duncan Coombs:
“At dawn I was still apprehensive of whether this monstrous swell would fill in, because it was just head-high when we first saw it, then we watched six-metre sets pitch-up and, after an hour, we saw 10-metre sets roll through. I was a bit nervous in the first heat about whether the guys could do anything in it as the rip was so strong and it was so big. Brawzinho struggled to get out the back. Dany did, and he looked like a tiny spec against the swells and had to pick his moment on when to come back in - it was a frustrating day overall for Bruch really – then Traversa slipped straight out the back and picked-up one of the biggest waves I’ve seen ridden in England, well one of them, it was ridiculous, a 30-foot wave. Brawzinho jumped amazingly in the first heat – I think he did nine jumps in total in 20 minutes. [Later] Up at The Bluff it was firing, sideshore, 3.7 weather and some of the biggest hits we’ve ever seen. The outlook on tomorrow? I think the waves will get better and the wind lighter throughout the day so it could provide a good mix for the final test.”