Excitement builds as a storm brews!
Most of the journeys, although long, have gone smoothly so far, although some of the competitors’ equipment is still delayed in transit, but on-site the event crew are ready for whatever nature throws at them.With a host of World Champions amongst the fleet the standard will be as off-the-scale as the forecast conditions. With winds of up to 60 knots and storm swell of up to 9.9m forecast, the stage is set for a spectacle unseen before in the windsurfing world. First possible start is on Monday 28th 09.15 local time.
The biggest shock will surely be for Brazilian waveriding genius Marcilio ‘Brawzinho’ Browne, who has arrived weary-eyed following a mammoth journey from the balmy waters of the Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands? Flying via his Hawaiian home, the 23-yr old former Freestyle World Champ claims that he’s ‘…just hoping not to freeze!Great Britain’s Robby Swift’s epic voyage involved flying via Panama, Texas, California, Maui and Germany – with a total flying time of 39 hours! Swift and his boards made the final-leg flight to Dublin although his gear is still to materialise in time for the Monday morning kick-off.Also arriving from Chile was current Vice-World Champion Victor Fernandez who’s prepared for whatever nature throws at him with sails from 3.4 up to 4.7 and two storm-ready Quad fin boards of 75 and 86 litres, plus a stash of his sponsor ION’s neoprene and on-land clothing.
Moroccan windsurfing legend, Boujmaa Guilloul has adrenaline and fun in his mind of course, but even this master of high wind jumping is exercising extreme caution. Speaking during a flight delay in London he remarked that ‘this is a unique chance to take part in such big and exclusive event – I’ve been looking forward to it so much since I first heard about it and I would love it to be my favoured strong wind conditions – but my slogan is Safety First!’2009 Wave World Champ, Josh Angulo, is no stranger to brutally cold winter windsurfing and has travelled with all his specialist icy weather equipment. ‘I guess if I were to have a slogan for this event it would be RESPECT…Respect for all the hard work that’s gone in to this project, respect for Ireland and its people and, of course, respect for nature! My expectation is to score some Irish Juice!’
KEEPING THEIR COOL
The final entrants are all European specialists familiar with rough weather and freezing temperatures. Germany’s Dany Bruch, who competed at the last PWA World Tour event in Brandon Bay in 2002, is frothing about his return to Ireland. The Tenerife-based Pro, currently ranked 5th in the wave rankings, is heavier than some and has only a 3.7sqm sail packed as his smallest size to cope with the potentially 70mph wind.Bruch’s countryman, Leon Jamaer is also one to watch as the clouds darken and conditions intensify. The young rider from the Baltic sea is an up-and-coming star in the sport and was backed by the public voting that picked the main players to excel in wild wind environments. Fresh from a trip to Cabo Verde, Jamaer – who broke the PWA Top-10 in 2012 – was delighted to receive a text informing him of the ‘Mission GO!’ during a University lecture.Similarly, Kenneth Danielsen (DEN) will show his proficiency in the midwinter tempest approaching. Hailing from the North Sea Danielsen joins the Storm Chase from sunny Cape Town and had to borrow a winter wetsuit before catching a flight to Dublin. The Dane’s aim is clear: ‘my expectation is to score some of the most extreme conditions I’ve ever sailed in!’Finally it’s the French that represent another force of strong wind windsurfing. Marseille’s Thomas Traversa, winner of the penultimate PWA Wave event of 2012 in Denmark, is a featherweight talent but a master of heavy-weather sailing.
Traversa is joined by fellow Mediterranean ‘maniac’ Julien Taboulet, who has tamed some of the gnarliest high-wind and big-wave spots in the world. Apart from scoring solid conditions, Taboulet, and the all of the event crew and cast of challengers has more on his mind than just competition. ‘I really hope that we get some huge waves and good riding conditions to honour and remember our good friend Mikey Clancy – RIP forever brother’. Taboulet’s sentiments echo the entire global windsurfing community after Clancy, Ireland’s most-promising Professional Windsurfer, passed away in January of this year. Much missed by all of his family, close friends and Professional peers, Mikey Clancy became a windsurfing icon for his exploits in the crazy conditions of the Irish coastline and in PWA Tour events and for truly encapsulating the spirit of windsurfing in storm conditions.