Frenchman Thomas Traversa has been crowned the champion of the Red Bull Storm Chase after a spectacular showdown in giant waves and force 10 winds at Gwithian this weekend.
Despite weighing just 60 kilos, Traversa won the final leg of the Red Bull Storm Chase, beating Marcilio Browne from Brazil and Leon Jamaer from Germany.
A Red Bull Storm Chase spokesman said: "When the conditions are so rough that fisherman won’t dare to go out to sea, or when people on shore start to nail their windows and doors shut and schools close down, that’s when “action time” starts for the world’s most fearless storm surfers.
With building-high waves and gusts of wind reaching 70 knots (80 mph / 130 km/h), only the best were nominated to participate in the “Red Bull Storm Chase”. During an 18-month holding-period, ten of the world’s best windsurfers waited patiently to catch three of the biggest storms on oceans around the globe to determine who was the very best. After Mission 1 in Ireland (January 2013) and a second mission in Tasmania, Australia (August 2013), Red bull Storm Chase picked the storm-ravaged coast of Cornwall, for the third and final location for a showdown between the remaining four.
"Thomas Traversa of France proved that massive size wasn't needed to master the elements. Despite weighing just 60 kilos, Traversa’s “fighting weight” was enough to handle the waves and wind better than any of his rivals. He took first place ahead of world champion Marcilio Browne of Brazil and Germany’s Leon Jamaer."
Red Bull Storm Chase is billed as 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 the raging conditions, the participants had just 48-hours to mobilise on-site before the next storm struck.