Stone weathers the Storm

Published: Friday, 22 March 2019 at 2:47:31 PM

Local lad Jaeger Stone has taken out the 2019 Red Bull Storm Chase (RBSC) in Ireland and we caught up with him to debrief on the conditions, what winning was like and how he handled the 115km/h wind speeds.

Congratulations on winning the Red Bull Storm Chase! What are your feelings? Did you realise what happened in the last four days? ​

It still definitely feels a little surreal. It's so cool and I'm really happy to win the event in front of so many incredible windsurfers in absolutely mental conditions. I think it'll take a few days for it all to settle in once I'm back home, it has been a roller coaster over the last two weeks.

2019 Red Bull Storm Chase

Photo credit: John Carter 

On Instagram you wrote - "I’ve loved every minute of it" - but there must have been some difficult moments. What was the hardest part for you?

Yeah, some moments were incredibly difficult. Before I came over to Ireland one of my biggest concerns was going to be how I handled the cold. I spoke to a few of my mates and basically said I wasn't sure if I would be able to move or how I would react as it's so different to anything I know. That was definitely a massive challenge. Temperatures were basically fluctuating between 0.5 - 4deg on the first day and the pain you experience in your hands is intense. Everyone is so tough in Ireland!

Did you go 100% or were you a bit conservative with your moves in these conditions?

Ha ha I think the only way to sail well in those conditions is to go 100%. Sometimes when things are too sketchy you have to use common sense and step back a little but otherwise I think hesitation and holding back is worse.

Did the conditions bring you to your personal limit? How far away was your personal limit?

Yesterday I thought I may get the biggest jump of my life but it was so out of control and so windy I could not get my board to sit flat on the water and get the run up I wanted/needed. I was skimming on my fin and just trying not to catapult. It was really difficult to control everything in those conditions. The potential is there to go massive but sometimes you will only get one or two opportunities. I'm not sure what my limit is, I guess we continue learning and becoming better windsurfers and people when we go out of our comfort zone so that bar can always continue to be raised hopefully.

Photo credit Sebastian MarkoPhoto credit: Sebastian Marko

Were these the windiest conditions you have ever windsurfed in?

Without a doubt. Could hardly walk to the water. Check it out here.

How did you prepare for the competition?

In a way I feel like I've been preparing for the last three years while we've waited. I really wanted to be a part of the RBSC when it returned so I'm so happy I got the call up. I've just been trying to improve my windsurfing and fitness over that time, both for the RBSC but also just for myself and the PWA World Tour. Specific preparation I did was probably just trying to get comfortable sailing in boots, mittens and a hood. Sailing with that gear in warm water does help a little because you can get a feel for it but really I probably should have just been having ice baths for the last three years.

Red Bull Storm Chase 2019Photo credit: Sebastian Marko

Is this victory the biggest success in your career so far?

Yeah, this is the biggest win of my windsurfing career and to be honest is something that I really value. Thomas Traversa is an absolute nutter and I love how committed his windsurfing is, so to win this event after him winning in 2013/14 is awesome, and if I could be regarded as charging even half as hard as he does then I'm pretty happy. I feel like the RBSC allows for the top windsurfers in the world to showcase what they can do in the gnarliest conditions.

Were you ever scared or did you just feel pumped up to charge as hard as possible?

There were plenty of moments I was scared. I think in those conditions I'm always a little scared or nervous about what could happen and what I could do. It's similar when I'm sailing big Margaret River or a super windy day at home in Geraldton. I get nervous but as long as I want to be there and I'm confident in my ability and fitness I feel like I still find enjoyment. I always remember listening to a Podcast with Mark Matthews talking about fear and saying that you have to want it more than you fear it. I felt like I'd done all the preparation and was confident within my self so it just came down to what I wanted to try and do. I think late on the second afternoon of competition the conditions were pretty close to my limit though. It's one thing to sail in those conditions but I think to try and do the biggest moves we can is another.

Jaeger Stone at the Red Bull Storm ChasePhoto credit: John Carter Photography

How did you feel to win this illustrious event?

It's unreal. I really value the RBSC and what it stands for. It is such a unique contest, in the craziest conditions with some of the best windsurfers in the world.

Highs and low points?​

Everything felt like a high point to me. Even the cold. It was so cool to experience Ireland and the power of Storm Gareth.

Words of thanks to…

The entire RBSC Crew (organisers, judges, media and particularly the safety crew!), the friendly people of Ireland and my sponsors Severne Sails, Starboard, City of Greater Geraldton, Cockburn Joinery, Stone Surf Designs and Swox.


Red Bull Storm Chase - Jaeger StonePhoto credit: John Carter Photography

You can follow Jaeger and his journies by visiting his Instagram account.

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