Finally we will see the start of the Red Bull Storm Chase, which is heading to Ireland for round one. Gale warnings have been issued for the sea areas for the next days in Ireland and the UK. Unfortunately this will be the first big storm without Mikey Clancy, who has passed away in the beginning of January. “We will definitely be taking the time to remember Mikey on the mission and dedicate the competition to him,” Red Bull organisers said. 

The following riders will take part in the first mission: Marcilio Browne, Daniel Bruch, Victor Fernandez, Julien Taboulet, Boujmaa Guilloul, Robby Swift, Thomas Traversa, Josh Angulo, Kenneth Danielsen and Leon Jamaer. Some big names will be missing like Philip Köster or Ricardo Campello. Philip Köster has injured his ankle and can’t take part. Philip: “I’m so bummed that I can’t do the Red Bull Storm Chase, I tried a frontside 360 in a big shorebreak and my foot got stuck in the footstrap and I twisted my ankle. I hope all the best to the storm chase riders and to all the crew!! Conditions look perfect for the first mission!” The reason for Ricardo’s absence we don’t know.
We have talked to Klaas Voget, who is on his way to Ireland.
Mikey Clancy at Maheroarty - Pic: Michael Clancy

Mikey Clancy at his favourite spot Maheroarty – Pic: Michael Clancy

Continentseven: Are you well prepared for the first mission?
Klaas Voget: Well prepared is kind of an understatement, as we’ve been working towards the first mission for more than 8 months now. Everything’s perfectly set!
All the gear is in place to guarantee the competitor’s safety in the water. Sea-Doos are branded and on the road to Ireland already, our WeatherDock GPS tracking is charged up and all the competitors have received their ION protection gear ahead of the start.
The whole media production is ready to take off as well. We have three cameramen and two photographers on site, as well as two live reporters for the Red Bull Storm Chase website. You can be sure we’ll capture every second of the competition in it’s full glory!
Continentseven: Are you disappointed, that some big names are missing?
Klaas: We knew all along that, you know, stuff happens, and had that’s why we had the five substitues in place from the very beginning. All fifteen nominated guys were given the chance to join in, and it’s a lucky coincidence that exactly ten of them ended up being ready and able to go.
Of course it’s a little sad not to have Philip Köster in the competition, as he’s not only reigning world champion but also a Red Bull athlete. He has just injured his ankle back home during a Wave-360. Another big name who will surely be missed is Ricardo Campello. Lots of people were looking forward to see him in the event, because he’s well known to go big no matter how challenging the conditions are.
Honestly, we couldn’t be happier with the guys who are on their way to Ireland now. It’s such a diverse fleet with an incredible amount of talent that we’re absolutely sure they will deliver an extraordinary performance on the water. They are all true Storm Chasers!

The Sea-Doo personal watercraft have just been sent on their journey to Ireland

Continentseven: What conditions can we expect?
Klaas: Judging by the forecast, it will be true Red Bull Storm Chase conditions! Incredibly big waves, up to 9 m (and with 17 sec period), and windspeeds up to 110 km/h (12 Bft, 60 knots). It’s going to be really gnarly. Some people are already calling it Ireland’s storm of the year. Just what we were waiting for! However, one of the biggest challenges will probably be the typical Irish weather. It’s known to change from one minute to the next over there, and we are fully expecting to go back and forth between incredibly windy patches with hurricane strength gusts and no wind at all within one day. Temperatures are on the edge as well, but they should go up to 10°C on Monday, which is good.
We’re really happy that we had the balls to sit out the whole waiting period last year in order to wait for the right storm. Rest assured, it was not a marketing stunt to extend the event into 2013, but rather the crew’s intention to really score really extraordinary conditions.
Continentseven: What day will be the biggest one and did you already choose a spot on Ireland’s westcoast?
Klaas: The latest forecast shows the first part of the storm hitting Ireland’s coastline on Sunday – and it will only have passed on Wednesday. So there’s three days with a very high confidence level. We’re currently planning for Monday as the day to compete, because the temperatures will be higher than on Sunday. Tuesday might be an option as well, if Monday should not work out.

As for the spot, it’s probably going to be either Magheroarty in the north-west or Brandons Bay in the south-west. The decision will probably be made on Saturday when the crew will be on location already and in direct contact with local advisors Timo & Finn Mullen. Both spots are known to deliver world-class wavesailing conditions.
Continentseven: Will you offer a live video stream from the competition site?
Klaas: There won’t be a proper “always-on” live video stream, because we’re incredibly mobile and don’t even know where the competition will be held yet. Thus we’ll have to rely on mobile 3G broadband, which might also be spotty. But of course we will make sure you will be able to follow everything that happens as it happens nevertheless.
The website will be switched to a dedicated live page tomorrow. There will be frequent live updates, pics and video clips from the mission! We have two live reporters on site for that, and all the sailors and crew are able to post on there themselves as well. So that’s something you should definitely check out frequently.

© Continentseven 2013