The storm we all had waited years for finally hit Ireland, and the most hardcore storm chasers in the world flew in for the 2019 edition of the Red Bull Storm Chase, including Philip Köster and Jaeger stone. Both whom finished on the podium with Jaeger taking this years title in blistering cold winds and some of the most hardcore conditions we´ve ever seen.
As the event is now wrapping up, we´ve had a chance to get in touch with this years winner, Jaeger Stone, who had to change his plans last minute and fly into Ireland instead of Maui, and with Philip Köster, who had to miss out on the last storm chase due to injury. Check it out here below.
What was the format for this years RBSC?
Almost 2 weeks out from the event the RBSC Crew started tracking this storm and it was changing so often that there was always a little bit of uncertainty to it. When it was called on it looked like we may get anywhere from 1-3 days of the stormy conditions we were after. In the end we had two full days of competition with a lay day in between. This worked out really well for all the riders and I think the lay day in between really meant we could push as hard as possible on both days because the weather was extreme! 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.
No doubt it looked gnarly and cold out there. What kind of wetsuit gear were you using?
It was freezing! 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.
What kind of conditions did you expect to meet when you were flying into Ireland?
Was it more hardcore than you´d expected? I didn't know what to expect to be honest. I figured it was going to be massive, crazy windy and cold but perhaps not to the level we experienced. It was out of control. I was nervous, excited and terrified all at once. I think the thing I was most nervous about was that I didn't know how I would handle the cold and if I would be able to do anything at all or just be frozen stiff. It's so far removed from anything I've ever experienced.
Does this kind of competition type appeal to you? Being on standby over a long period of time, and having to shift around plans to make things happen causes quite some stress, how did you handle this?. Would you like to see more competitions like this in the future?
At times it did get a little difficult. A couple of storms were being tracked 1-2 weeks in advance and it did make planning difficult as we never knew if or when it would be called on. I was due to fly to Maui on the 4th of March but this looked like the most promising forecast for a storm in the last 3 years so I put my flights on hold. The storm gradually just kept moving further back on the forecast, intensifying and downgrading so it was hard to know what would happen. In the end I wasn't real keen on traveling to Maui for a day to then jump on a plane to Ireland the next as I think I would have been too fatigued to be confident and more than likely useless. The RBSC is such a great opportunity and experience though so even if it fell through I was happy to hang around at home until the call was made. I just tried to keep my routine as normal as possible with exercise and windsurfing, enjoying home and having my gear ready to throw in a bag and go.
These events are so good for the sport of windsurfing! It creates so much attention and it's really cool for some of the best windsurfers in the world to chase some of the craziest conditions in the attempt to push our sport further.
What do you believe made the difference this time for you to be taking the title?
Ha ha some luck! Maybe approaching it with no expectations and just trying to see if I could find a little bit of control in the most extreme moments. It's inspiring and motivating to windsurf with all the other competitors, I think we all tried our hardest and I think we're always pushing each other in all conditions. Any one of them could have taken out the event but I'm so happy I impressed the judges enough to win.
With his first victory in the bag, it looks like we will be seeing more of Jaeger over this season as usual.
Finising just behind Jaeger in second, Philip was doing probably the biggest jumps we´ve ever seen, with a sail size of 4,2, which is just insane! During the event, Philip was on the following gear:
Sails: Blade Pro 4.0, 4.2. (the massive forward and air taka), Blade 3.5
Masts: RDM Blue 370, 340
Booms: Enigma 140 - 190
Harness: AIR Harness
Wetsuit: Primo 5/3
After having to miss out the first RedBull Storm chase in Ireland 4 years ago, how excited where you for this event being on standby for nearly 3 years?
Super happy to finally make the RED Bull storm chase, after waiting for 3 years im super happy to get into the water with 130 kph winds und huge waves. Definitely really excited to have sailed it with 7 other great sailors.
It must have been a bit of a change to change your usual warmer climate of the canaries with for the cold weather/snow of Ireland. No doubt it looked gnarly and cold out there. What kind of wetsuit gear were you using?
I have been using my 5.3 SV Primo wetsuit. I had some issues getting used to the gloves and shoes but it was a must in those temperatures. For jumping I always took the gloves off to get grip again holding the boom. It was a big challenge.
What kind of conditions did you expect to meet when you were flying into Ireland? Was it more hardcore than you´d expected?
Actually I expected what we got to see at the end of the footage of the past Ireland stormchase: strong cold winds and big waves all over the place. Even if it looked like a huge mess it was still fun on the water when it was not hailing.
Does this kind of competition format appeal to you? Being on standby over a long period of time, and having to shift around plans to make things happen. Would you like to do more of these contest?
I think the contest is something really special and fits perfect to the stomchase concept. For the normal contest I like the way it is.
Whats next, you have been traveling most of the winter. Will you have some time at home now or are there more exciting trip coming in the next few weeks?
First get home and get used to the warmer weather again and then I will go train in Maui or Morocco depending on the conditions.
If you´d like to stay up to date with all the recent action which took place at the Red Bull Storm Chase, you can follow this link.