VIDEO: World windsurfing stars braving surf inferno at Hayle
HUNDREDS of people gathered to watch some of the world's best windsurfers as they descended on Hayle at the weekend for an epic competition.
The Red Bull Storm Chase came to Gwithian where stormy weather saw competitors battle it out in waves of 35ft and wind speeds of up to 80mph.
Dubbed the "most challenging windsurfing contest of all time" the Red Bull contest saw the top ten most fearless storm surfers search the globe for three massive storms.
Mission three to Cornwall was the last leg of the competition in which performers win points for the highest jumps and most daring wave rides.
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After the two-day challenge, French competitor Thomas Traversa was crowned the overall winner.
Klaas Voget, sports director, said the dramatic weather currently battering the county was "rare" even on a global scale.
He said: "It's a bit of a spectacle. (It) was pretty hard to handle for the guys even though they are some of the best windsurfers in the world – you just don't see conditions like this every day."
The competition was restricted to two rounds due to the powerful storm surge. Competitors moved from Gwithian to a nearby spot at the Bluff to finish the ultimate challenge.
Head judge, Duncan Coombs, said west Cornwall provided some of the biggest hits he had ever seen with conditions akin to the two previous missions in Ireland and Tasmania.
"The end of the final Mission here in Cornwall, what an epic way to end it. The beauty of the Red Bull Storm Chase concept is that you're always going to get optimum conditions – especially with such a late call based on a good forecast to mobilise," said Mr Coombs.