(Reuters) – Eight of the world’s most daring windsurfers put their skills to the test in extreme conditions on Monday during the latest edition of the Red Bull Storm Chase in Ireland on Monday.
The competition challenges participants to perform tricks in stormy, freezing conditions with a panel of judges from the Professional Windsurfing Association awarding points for aerial artistry, big jumps and wave rides.
“The special thing is that we have probably the best riders in the world in the toughest conditions you’ll be sailing in,” 2016 winner Thomas Traversa of France told Reuters TV on the coast of Ireland’s County Donegal.
“Today we have a really strong wind, the waves are nice.”
Windsurfers went through three rounds of heats on Monday as winds hovered between 30 and 60 knots off Magheraroarty Beach.
Participants waited three years to compete as organisers searched unsuccessfully for the perfect venue and conditions, before zeroing in on the north-west corner of Ireland.
“I’m not used to cold water, and it takes a lot of energy out of you, makes your arms … really stiff. It’s hard but it’s fun,” said Ricardo Campello, a three-time world freestyle champion from Venezuela, competing at the two-day event.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)