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Posted by on Mar 8, 2020 in Travel, Windsurfing News |

Red Bull Storm Chase |Part 1|How it all started…

When the seas turn angry and the gale blows, last thing sailors think of is to set off… And yet, adrenaline-seekers from PWA together with Red Bull have managed to make this crazy feat into a competition: The Storm Chase. The concept is simple: gather the best of the best and make them compete in the most difficult conditions possible. But how did the tournament evolve to its international, iconic status? And how does it work? Here’s the story of the Red Bull Storm Chase!

Dreaming of a storm during a lull…

The year is 2005. The usually windy island of Fuerteventura is quieter than ever, bringing the PWA World Cup event to a halt. That’s when, in the scorching sun of the Canary lull, Jobst von Paepcke and Florian Gebbert though of an idea. What if instead of waiting around for wind, you’d chase the biggest storms around the globe? That was it! Passing it onto their events company bsp-Media, the riders started to look for partners who’d help to organise the most insane windsurfing competition ever. It wasn’t long before they found exactly what they were looking for: a company with a reputation for sponsoring the most extreme sports on the planet – Red Bull.

The storm chase granddad: 2006 Event

The talks and preparations for the event started almost immediately after. Because of the unpredictable nature of the wind, the entire venture had to be ready at a few days notice. From drivers and hotels to rescue and medical staff, the entire competition had to assemble as soon as the forecast looked promising. Unlike the modern Storm Chase, the 2006 event was not held in a single place. Instead, teams of at least 2 windsurfers were to set off in a spot in their native country. The Red Bull team regularly checked the weather in 9 European countries, looking for the one and only perfect storm. And the perfect storm did come on the 31st of October 2006.

Storm Britta made its way through the North Sea with gusts reaching 174 km/h in Denmark and southern Sweden. Combined with over 6m waves, the storm wrecked havoc across the coasts of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Scotland. The green flag went up and the madness began for the 24 participants.

The Red Bull Storm Chase DVD

The outcome of the first, legendary storm chase was a 50 minute film with the most amazing highlights from all the spots. It was released on DVD, alongside heaps of behind the scenes promotional materials. And… that was it! Both bsp-Media and Red Bull received the press attention they wanted and the riders conquered the biggest storm of their lives. But for many, the one-off event left their extreme appetites unsatisfied. And so the Storm chase was to return in its new, global form…

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