Monday saw the majority of Ireland hit with storm force winds. It’s results included debris filled roads, heavy traffic, structural damage to buildings and generally unwanted among the most of the country.
Well, not quite the same could be said if you were standing on the back beach in Castlegregory, Co.Kerry locally known as “Dumps” this Monday morning. The organizers of Red Bull Storm Chasers had scrambled all their crews and teams who had 48hrs to travel from across the globe to Ireland for the first “Mission” on the 3 mission challenge.
Its simple, Red Bull Storm Chase set a 4 month challenge where they require 3 “missions” to be completed. There is 7 possible locations, United States, Iceland, Ireland, Spain, France, Tasmania and Japan. The conditions seemed just right for the organisers who pulled the trigger Saturday, a logistically nightmare to get the gear, teams, TV crews, helicopters to Ireland.
The first session of the day kicked off in Dumps, Co.Kerry at 7am. A dark morning that quickly brightened by mid-morning. There was a small gathering, massively understated as I read the event is “Windsurfing’s Most Challenging Contest”. It wasn’t long before I understood the attitude, these guys were interested in the sport, they didn’t care about hitting news headlines or making the papers, they spoke and were friendly but it was obvious the feeling was focused on the event and nothing else. Serious dedication. In fact I spoke with a competitor who told me his opposition flew in from Maui at 1.30am Monday to Dublin airport. He jumped straight into a car drove through the night. Had his breakfast and showered, then proceeded to suit up for the days challenge.
The crowds did begin to grow and by 12pm about 100 spectators looked on. The winds increased with gusts recorded over 50 knots. As the wind slightly shifted from south west to west south west the organisers decided to move the camp and head to “Hell’s Gate”. You couldn’t build what seemed to be the God’s natural Amphitheater for this event. A little rocky cove that backed onto the North Atlantic, slightly sheltered which made launch and recovery much easier. The cliffs were lined with a variety of young and old, even the local farmers stopped traffic in their tractors to what must have been a rather unusual sight, Red Bull cars and vans, a low flying helicopter and handful of windsurfers who seemed to spend as much time in the air that in the water.
Six sailors now advance to the next mission, where and when? only the weather can decide the time and date.
Report: Brian Carlin
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