August 23, 2012

Justyna Sniady's Story

She's a pro sailor. Highly capable. Really tough. Very pretty. She wanted to be part of the chase.

But this time, it wasn't meant to be.

Here's the story of Justyna Sniady, who sadly couldn't register for the competition, although she had long been looking forward to it.


Act One: Her Eager Anticipation and Preparation

Back in 2006. The first Red Bull Storm Chase event is held across Europe. Ten windsurfers from eight countries head out to sail one storm at different spots across the continent. Justyna is 21 years old at the time, already a pro sailor, and envisions herself to participate in the event.

Six years later: Red Bull Storm Chase makes its return. So does Justyna's anticipation to be part of it:

"I've been waiting for it to return since 2006. Back then, Polish competitors couldn't enter the event. I've dreamed about it ever since!"

This time, she won't miss her chance. Consequently, she starts to prepare her registration right away: Training on the water and shooting footage for her application video.

Justyna performing on the water


Act Two: Her One-of-a-Kind Application Video

It's late July. The registration period for Red Bull Storm Chase has ended a day before. Justyna is not amongst the registered sailors. Sports & Athletes Manager Klaas Voget receives a message from her:

"I know it is the 29th today, but I have been in the hospital after the surgery on my foot. I crashed it into pieces after an unlucky stalled forward in Pozo. Nevertheless, I really need to sign up for Red Bull Storm Chase! I have to! You know well that I'm a Red Bull junkie and ambassador for 10 years now. I don't even let people drink any other energy drinks!"

With it, she sends her one-of-a-kind application video:


She's also written a brilliant motivational passage for her profile:

"10 broken bones, broken my nose 5 times, perforated my ear drum 3 times broken, 36 stitches, countless cuts and bruises, present at any good day within 600 km reach of me, massive wipe-outs and over 8000 cans of Red Bull drank in the last 14 years. I’m ready! Maybe there are better sailors, some with real balls, but mine are made of steel! ;D Can’t wait for a chance to be a part of an experience full of huge waves, hectic winds and Red Bull!"

The crew is at a loss what to do now. Everyone can literally feel how bad she'd like to be participate. But at the same time, everyone agrees that it's not realistic for her to recover quickly enough from her injury.

In the end it is decided that reason has to prevail. Her registration cannot be accepted anymore.


Act Three: Her Recovery and Return to the Tour

Obviously this turn of events is not what Justyna had hoped for, when she heard of Red Bull Storm Chase's return. A bad injury never comes at the right time, but it seems this year was an especially bad time for it to happen. Luckily she's got a great support system around her: Her family, her partner Ben Proffitt and the entire PWA crowd. Despite her injury she hasn't lost a bit of her enthusiasm.

In July, when the crew visits the PWA tour stop on Tenerife to interview some of the selected Storm Chasers after the voting, they are surprised to also meet Justyna.

Apparently she's already returned to the tour. Not yet competing again, but instead commenting...


Everyone on the crew wishes her all the best for her ongoing recovery. Justyna, we're looking forward to see you back on the water! And regarding Red Bull Storm Chase: There's always a next time...