Storm Chasers Meet Their Match

Coastal defences were reinforced, surfers hastened t'ward shelter and the general public battened down any hatch in sight. As Europe prepared for yet another colossal low pressure, there were but a handful of hellmen who confronted the storm head on, and most had a sail protruding from their board.

Strike Four resulted in malevolent seas and not a lot of surfing. As predicted, wave heights around the UK were lofty; in fact the wave buoy at Perranporth, Cornwall, was ripped from its tether, and was soon discovered resting mournfully on the high tide mark. Meanwhile the Seven Stones lightship stayed strong, recording 34 ft @13 seconds at the peak of the swell at 10 am on Saturday. Fortunately, coastal damage was not as extensive as Wednesday's storm, primarily because of the neap tides, and peak of the swell not coinciding with high water.

Windsurfing was arguably the sport best suited to the conditions, as illustrated by the dizzying aerial antics of the Red Bull Storm Chase competitors. France’s Thomas Traversa proved the ultimate storm windsurfer, winning the third stage of the Red Bull Storm Chase near St Ives, West Cornwall. This was the final event of a three part tour which started in January 2013, the aim being to compete in the three biggest storms to materialise over a two year waiting period.

"I feel super happy to win this," said Traversa. "Even happier than when I won the PWA Worldcup in Denmark. Especially to show what I can do in big, gnarly conditions, because for me, that’s really why I windsurf. To be here in Cornwall and to have visited Tasmania and Ireland with these amazing riders is a privilege."

In other news, Garret McNamarra turned up at Nazare, sat in contemplation staring out the car window, then twisted the key and sped off. For all the potential Nazare has shown this year, it has also proven to be the most fickle of adversaries.

Struan Gray

Writer and Content Manager