The North Atlantic is blowing a hoolie again. Surfers will be hard pressed to remember a winter which has delivered storm force ferocity with such consistency. And as the mercury plunging pattern continues, the forecast is set to hit new highs on Monday, delivering a swell which is somewhat of a step into the unknown.
Unlike a lot of more recent storms with multiple cores, this is one solid system in a position to deliver huge surf to the whole of west facing Europe and North Africa, and most importantly people are preparing to surf it at peak intensity from Scotland and Ireland down through Europe to North Africa. Big wave surfers from across The Pond have been Instagramming flight tickets with Lisbon emblazoned in black ink, for this is a storm which has the potential to be right there in the final percentile. What does 29ft @ 21 seconds look like at Nazare?
"During the past few weeks the bigger swells have traversed inclement routes, normally accompanied with unfavourable wind, giving only a few short windows for the chargers." Says MSW Forecaster, Francisco. "However this storm which will hit Europe next Monday/Tuesday will exhibit different behaviour, moving from the East Coast of the USA on a north east route. We are forecasting an intensification during Saturday with the wind peaking during the afternoon. Our data currently shows that we will see an area approximately with the size of France with winds exceeding 50 kts and expect maximum wind speeds of 70 kts."
Mullaghmore in Ireland. After a blustery morning session the surfers returned for second bite of the cherry.
Galicia: "Pictures just don't cut it. This wave would all but swallow that lighthouse. Humbly tucking my tail between my legs
The swell has hit Nazare but the conditions are blustery and tricky in the wind."
The swell has hit Nazare but the conditions are blustery and tricky as feared.
Jamie Mitchell and Grant Twig Baker await the swell at Belharra (forecast to arrive late Monday/early Tuesday)
The Big Numbers
Significant wave heights of more than 65ft/20metres.
Max sustained wind speed close to 70 knots / 80mph.
An area of wave heights exceeding 50ft approximately the size of Iberia.
Mullaghmore Head will be turning inside out at 19ft @ 20 seconds
Sennen in the UK is forecast to be 28ft @ 21 seconds
Belharra in France promises 16ft @ 19 seconds
Nazare is looking at 29ft @ 21 seconds
Anchor Point further south promises at 16ft @ 19 seconds.
To see any forecast with a figure greater than 20 in either column generally means powerful surf. To see 20+ in both columns is highly unusual and if the wind stays from the south and doesn't blow too hard then there will be plenty of spots within Europe which could theoretically turn on.
As ever forecasts are subject to change and we advise keeping tabs on this system as it develops over the weekend. And please if you are not sure of yourself, your chosen spot, or are new to surfing, or the water, stay on dry land.
*Anyone surfing/shooting this storm please email firstname.lastname@example.org with pics and stories. Also sessions from this swell with be eligible to enter The Winter Session, so don't forget to document them. To enter send your edit via wetransfer.com to: email@example.com.