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South West France. I call it my GoPole attachment which is basically a pole glued into the surfboard, self made. Taken with a GoPro3. Well it was my first session of the new year and the surf has been pumping, so I was kinda looking for a couple big A-frame peaks to test my new gadget. This pole took me months of trial and error to get right. Normally I only hunt the rights, but on this day (with the rising tide) the bank turned from a perfect right to a amazing left. I never go left. My first session of 2014 and I was just dropping into these crazy lefts (and rights), getting totally slotted with two other surfers out. Yes man. With regards to did I make it? I don't think so, but I did my best. © 2014 Kevin Olsen - Plonka Surfboards
Mullaghmore, Ireland. OK, well first of all, who the F**k is Michal Czubala? From behind the scenes to the front page! At Offshore Watersports our task when chartering boats out to professional photographers is to get them in position for "the perfect shot." On January 6 the charter cancelled was cancelled and the opportunity presented itself to shoot the action myself. Tricky? Absolutely, driving, shooting and keeping in the perfect position ain't easy. It just couldn't have worked out better. Cheers to Aaron Pierce at liquid storm for all the tips over the years. © 2014 Michal Czubala
Desperations, Fiji. This was a family trip with just Carrisa Moore, Cayla and their dad Chris. They came out specifically to get time out at Cloudbreak with the upcoming women's stop in Fiji this coming May. Carrisa was ripping all week and Cayla was having break through sessions, as well as surfing hard and charging solid sets at Cloudbreak. The duck dive shot of Cayla was taken January 5th on a tiny clean swell at a spot called "Desperations", aptly named as it's a surfers last resort when the waves are small. This wave magnet reef picks up any wind swell that misses Cloudbreak and other popular local spots. "Despos," as its called here, is also known by other photographers for having the clearest water in the area. Shooting in water like this is a photographer's dream and as much credit as we photographers love to take for our work, mother nature takes the all the credit in this shot. © 2014 Stuart Johnson
Lombok, Indonesia. That day was just magic. It started in the morning with 2 to 4ft, then in the afternoon, around low tide it started to get massive. During the Indo off season Gili Air can get really good, through January or February, or even March. Oh yes, of course he made the barrel; he's a local surfer and the waves were pumping! © 2014 Lalu Zul Helmi
Slab, Ireland. I'm an Aussie just living, surfing and travelling through Europe. There were waves on every side of me, but my focus was on a right peeling straight ahead. There was one bodyboarder surfing this distant slab, but he was the only person I could see. © 2014 mattamos91
New Zealand. This is a pointbreak in the far north of NZ. It comes to life in big southwest swells which push up from the Antarctic. This was New Year's Day and despite high expectations, conditions were average for most of the day. After hours of watching I had almost given up, but then tide pushed in a little and the wind tweaked a little more offshore and, well, the picture says it all. I paddled out and proceeded to get the longest waves of my life, with multiple tube sections. There was a very small crew out as it was sunset and the day was almost done, so I took everything! © 2014 rocknrollmf
South West France. Following the Hercules storm that hit the French coast, a relative calm came over South West France. We went with our boards and my camera, and 4 degrees on the thermometer. To our surprise the sand is in place and provides us with waves up to 2m, perfected by light offshore wind. After a two and a half hour session I take my camera to capture the day. The session was memorable because there were only ten surfers in the morning all weekend. In the last three days and I really think we were spoiled by Mother Nature. © 2014 Keymimae Mikmik
Mullaghmore, Ireland. That picture in particular is a favourite as it captures well the power of Mother Nature, the rough & rugged atmosphere of Irish surf, and shows just how big our waves do get. It was a typical Irish winters day that, with huge waves crashing in, early in the mystical morning. Following some extreme rain and winds, a few perfectly angelic rays of sunshine managed to pierce their way through in the morning the late afternoon. With the crowd gathered and the brave surfers, I guess one couldn't help but feel a part of something really real and raw. It was exhilarating, intense and definitely insane! I think everyone left that day feeling truly alive. © 2014 Rory O'Doherty
Puerto Escondido, Mexico. © 2014 Rpm Surfer
Andalucia, Spain. The photo was shot by Jim Kenen, a local photographer. The rider would be myself, Stephen Gallop, also a local surfer. The ground swell that hit the region was generated by the Hercules storm, though as the cyclone was quite far off, we only received clean waves and an extremely high swell period, not a drop of wind or rain all day. This wave was on a wider set, that missed the first section of the reef and broke on the much dryer inside section. The reef itself is quite jagged and irregular preferring the lower tides. Me and a few other local boys (Nico Giacomucci, Carlos Brage and Will Ogliove) pulled into some epic waves, with Lucas Tozzi and Antonio Ceballos taking water shots. We have been surfing this wave a fair bit over the last few years. Its a bit tricky to get to and kind of hard to work out. Just got to bite the bullet and go. The swell window in Cadiz is quite narrow. It would be from November till March at a push and then we start getting the flat spells that can go on for months. The place also gets very crowded when under 5 foot, especially in recent years as surfing has become very popular and a lot more people have taken to the water. I would say that the prime time to get the epic sessions during the winter would be December till the end of February. But there is a lot of waiting around to do and plenty of average days. We have had some epic swell come through only to be ruined by the strong levante onshore winds that come off the Sahara desert, and that can actually blow the swell in a different direction. © 2014 Jim Kenen
Ocean Beach, San Francisco.
Secret, Tasmania. Rider is Nick Nairn-Smith from Tasmania. This was taken after a long trek into the wilderness. We woke up to a fun looking shorey and decided to fire off a few frames. We were the only ones out enjoying the crystal blue waves to ourselves. © 2014 teewhyphotos
Ocean Beach, San Francisco. Though the surf was clean and offshore, the triple-overhead size of the waves made it tricky to pick out where the peaks were going to line up. There was a lot of water moving around and the paddle out looked next to impossible. When I showed up Damo was out by himself dodging sets before he took off on this sandy gem. © 2014 Don Dianda
Waimea, Oahu. Not big enough for the Eddie but more than enough wave to share. Synchronised surfing is going to take the world by storm in 2014. Waimea, Oahu. © 2014 Shogo
Mehdya Plage, Morocco. It was a great winter, but this day it was like no other. Waves from dreams. 1.5m - 2m with sandy bottoms. It was perfect, a lot of people were present with caravans, vans and people from all over the world. Americans, Australians, French and Spanish have come to enjoy the swell and perfect waves. © 2014 Mehdia Surf Session
Waimea, Oahu. Waimea warmup. Taken just after to the megaswell which washed through the North Shore with not a clean face in sight. © 2014 Shogo
Pipeline, Oahu. A classic Pipe shot, complete with thick tube and oblivious bystanders. © 2014 Shogo
Slab, Northern California. It's actually a wave on the east side, but the closest break is Pleasure Point. It's a reef break slab and was as good as it looks. About a dozen agro guys out. Northern California has been nothing short of quality this past month! Twitter/Instagram: @caliknows. © 2014 Caliknows
Ocean Beach, San Francisco. A person wielding a metal detector quits their search for a moment to contemplate the treasure that's plain for all to see. © 2014 Don Dianda
Mundaka, Basque Country. I took the photo on December 17th. Mundaka was as good as it gets. I swam around with my GoPro for an hour and then came out to take some photos. Txaber Trojaola was one of the lucky guys who got a bomb that day. This one was one of the longest barrel. He made the barrel. © 2014 EKTphotos
Secret, Morocco. This spot is just 5 minutes north from where I live, somewhere along the road to Essaouira. The only way to get to the beach is take the walk. It will be half an hour to get down to the end of the wave, and a further 1.5 km to the peak of the wave. Sometimes at low tide the local boys go down to play a football game on the beach. If you want to surf it, the easiest way is to get a little boat or zodiac from the Imsouane harbour and you'll be in the peak within 15 minutes. I haven't surfed the wave, because with this size and conditions, there are so many other really good spots around with very easy acces, and yes, we are lazy surfers © 2014 About Mary Photography
January was a month of megastorms in the Northern Hemisphere. Hercules lived up to its name in the Atlantic, and Hawaii bore the brunt of several back-to-back Goliaths, resulting in a surfeit of wind and size, interspersed with moments of true perfection. This photo album is comprised of the best shots sent into our photo system this month, embellished with stories from those behind the lens.
To upload your own shots to the MSW photo system, click HERE.
Frozen North Sea swells, giant Pipeline and stunning Mundaka made for a very merry festive season.
The stories behind the best user photographs of October.