The 2019 RedBull Storm Chase winner Jaeger Stone reports from the most extreme windsurfing contest on the planet:
“The RedBull Storm Chase Crew were monitoring the weather and were in contact with most of the riders more than 1 week out from when it was called on. There was a lot of weather activity but it was changing often so it was hard to know what would happen. On Thursday morning I woke up at 6am and had a message that it had been given the green light. I packed that day, received my ticket at 7pm and flew out at 10pm.
The competition was run in a heat format with two sailors on the water at once. Safety was a huge factor and this meant each rider had the assistance of a jet ski if needed. Three rounds were completed on each of the two days and the best 5 jumps and best 5 waves of each rider were counted towards their overall score. It was a really nice format that allowed everyone to really go for it and if you had a heat that didn’t go your way you could brush it off quickly as you’d get another chance.
The conditions were mental. Freezing, howling winds like I’ve never seen and solid waves.
I used my Starboard 72L UltraKode and a 76L UltraKode.
I guess in certain situations and bigger sessions there are always some scary moments. I get nervous but as long as I want to be there and I’m confident in my ability and fitness I feel like I still find enjoyment. I think that in the afternoon the conditions were pretty close to my limit though. It’s one thing to sail in those conditions, but to try and do the biggest moves we can is another.
There weren’t really any battles on the water. Everyone was looking out for each other, trying to find their own level of comfort and push each other. It was super fun hanging out with all the other riders, there was no pressure or tension. It just felt as if we were freesailing and trying to go one better each time.
It was freezing out there! I used my 5/3 Severne Primo wetsuit with a hooded vest, Severne mittens and some 2mm booties I borrowed from Adam Lewis. To be honest, my body was warm the entire time on the water, the most difficult thing in those conditions is definitely the pain and numb sensations you experience in your hands. Unfortunately, I think that’s something you just have to deal with and gradually it gets better after the first little session.
I would definitely do it again!”
Watch the video below to see how wild it was.