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Thomas Traversa on his way to winning the Red Bull Storm Chase event in West Cornwall. In such conditions, few sports can harness the elements like windsurfing. © 2014 Simon Crowther
Dozens of photographers gathered at Sennen on Saturday in anticipation of scenes such as this. With the Seven Stones lightship recording 35 ft nearby, they were not disappointed.© 2014 crannogdiver
Seven Stones waveship data compared with our forecast (the dotted line). The peak of the swell on Saturday saw conditions in excess of 34 ft.
The wave buoy at Perranporth was ripped from its tether on Saturday, looking a sorry sight when it eventually washed up.© 2014 @kfornia
Germany's Dany Bruch on his way to a fourth place finish at the Red Bull Storm Chase event.© 2014 Sebastian Marco
Storm gazers just outside of the Atlantic's grip.© 2014 Jimmy Millard Photography
"There were plenty of good barrels at Roka Puta yesterday, shared with Lyndon (Wake) and Axi (Muniain)," says Jayce Robinson. This session forms part of Jayce and Lyndon's southbound journey through Europe. Check out more of their exploits HERE.
Meanwhile in Ireland, this surfer rode the storm all on his lonesome.© 2014 gerk86
Dany Bruch's journey to fourth place was far from straightforward.© 2014 Simon Crowther
The mayhem wasn't confined to European shores. This vista encompasses two well known Moroccan points looking decidedly like one.© 2014 Surf NStay
There aren't many contests where ugly wind torn 20 footers are the ideal.© 2014 Sebastian Marco
A house perfectly place to provide some perspective.© 2014 Simon James
Meanwhile at Nazare, Garrett McNamara turned up, surveyed the scene and sped off without looking back. The fickle beast was not in the mood for play.© 2014 Jeff Flindt / redbull.com/surfing
The runner up Marcilio Browne currently resides on Maui. No doubt West Cornwall felt a long way from home.© 2014 Sebastian Marco
"So that’s it, the end of the final Mission." says Red Bull Storm Chase Head Judge, Duncan Coombs. "Here in Cornwall, an epic way to end it, with conditions equal to, if not better than the setups we scored in Ireland and Tasmania. The perfect three missions really, nobody got hurt and I think the best man won. Thomas Traversa seems to have something special when it comes to storm chasing, in both jumping and wave riding skill. I think he’s completely nuts really. [In comparison to the PWA tour] I think the world tours seen some epic events, but you can’t often get a good contest if you set a date in stone, so the beauty of the Red Bull Storm Chase concept is that you’re always going to get optimum conditions – especially with such a late call based on a good forecast to mobilise.“© 2014 Simon Crowther
1st: Thomas Traversa (France), 2nd: Marcilio Browne (Brazil). 3rd: Leon Jamaer (Germany). 4th: Dany Bruch (Germany)© 2014 Sebastian Marco
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.
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