Thomas Traversa is built different. He spends his time studying storms, and then chasing them across far-flung corners of the globe – often alone.
For Thomas, riding in the eye of a storm isn’t about personal accomplishment. It’s a chance to experience nature in full flow and at its most extreme. An opportunity to reconnect with the natural rhythm of life.
A lot of people inspire me. The musicians, writers, poets, all the people who can turn their feelings into something meaningful and moving for others. I am also really inspired by the doctors, nurses, and healers. Sports wise, I really look up to people who do silly things, who really commit to a personal challenge.
Tell us about a time you faced a fear or overcame a personal struggle
In 2021, I was part of an ambitious project in the mountains of Switzerland: The X-Project 2.0. I basically teamed up with a crew of professional skiers and snowboarders and spent four days riding in the glaciers and was riding with a windsurf sail attached to my snowboard.
On the last day, I had to do a run through a very exposed and narrow couloir. Before starting, I was literally terrified – I even felt dizzy… The helicopter and drones were flying on top of me. I had to go, but I really felt like I was doing something stupid and dangerous. Somehow I made it to the bottom, and even though it wasn’t so extreme, it was still too much for my mountain skills. I felt like a survivor.
What’s been your proudest moment to date?
It’s hard to pick a moment, but probably winning the Red Bull Storm Chase in 2014. It was such a challenging event, featuring the best windsurfers in the world and the gnarliest weather conditions ever met in a competition. I really had the feeling I achieved something special and it was my first big win. It was very rewarding after years and years chasing storms on my own.
What’s your ultimate ambition?
My ultimate ambition is to be grateful everyday for the life I live. To be free in a way. To go with the flow of life and be surprised by what life throws at me.
Where’s your ‘happy place’?
My happy place is on the water, in the waves, or in the forest or the mountains alone. Anywhere I feel part of nature; where I can play with it and forget about everything else.
Tell us something you’re rubbish at
I think I am rubbish at caring for others.
What’s your number-one piece of kit?
My windsurf board. Because it is what connects me to the waves. Each new board is an evolution of all the boards I have had before. It’s almost a part of my personal history as a windsurfer.