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1. Natxo González, Mundaka. “Natxo has a special surfing instinct,” says Miguel Eguiraun, the filmmaker. “He is young and has a special sense for understanding the potential that each wave has. This day he really enjoyed, as you can appreciate from the pictures.”
2. Gordon Fontaine ruling the roost as Thurso delivers the sculpted right hand freight trains for which it is so famous.
3. Ben Skinner, Somewhere Hollow. “This has been, as you all know, the winter of a lifetime!” says Skindog. “This day was amongst one of the storms, and is safe to say we found a diamond in the rough! I have been working hard on my longboard models and the latest is called the slab hunter, a swallow tail with a quad set up.. This particular board I made with a smooth channel running out of the tail, giving me more control in the wave face in sucky waves. It definitely works. I love to challenge myself, getting in the barrel on a big board is a challenge and the rewards are the best feeling in the world to me.”
4. Sandy Kerr, Slab. Four absurdly shallow kegs more than make up for the biting cold and hours of driving during the the festive (chilly) season for Sandy Kerr.
5. Andrew Cotton, Nazare. A few fleeting seconds racing down a liquid mountain was all it took for Cotty to make the final.
6. Jerome Sahyoun, Morocco. One Session, five hours in the water, an offshore bombie, wide open barrels, towing, paddling and an abandoned jet ski; Jerome Sahyoun’s entry has a good helping of almost everything.
7. Jayce Robinson, Basque Country. “Well I didn’t expect to get so barrelled when we came to Spain, just to surf some big waves.” Said Jayce “But it turned out to be one of those special days, one I will remember forever. All the local guys were legends, Axi Munain, showed us the spot and shared his knowledge of the wave, what a legend is all I can say.
"After six hours of joy we had to head in and take a break. Lyndon and I sat on the cliff watching Axi confidently hacking the shit out of 12ft glassy faces for the last hour of light, even with his broken ribs from the last swell. A day like that followed by a couple of Keler beers to finish it off, doesn’t happen that often. I’m still buzzing.”
8. Nagai Puntiverio, Northern Spain. “He went surfing alone in challenging conditions for this wave, as it was too windy and no one else would surf that day,” says the filmmaker, Victor Delgado. “This wave is known as one of the best spots for big wave surfing in Cantabria. Nagai is training seriously for charging big waves in the upcoming season. It doesn't matter if the winds are strong and no one is surfing, he will paddle out, just to keep training.”
9. James Parry, Cornwall. Winter isn’t all frenzied storms and big wave charging. In this tranquil session James Parry finds a few shapely rights at his local to stave off the winter blues.
10. Conor Maguire, Mullaghmore. Conor might be new to the rope and sled but here he negotiates man-sized Mully with aplomb, and delivers to you all this festive gift wrapped in salt and consequence.
These are the last surfers standing, the ten Winter Session finalists. Many epic sessions have fallen by the wayside, victims to our ruthless monthly culls, but the end results are pretty special. We’re truly stoked to have been part of this competition, documenting the best moments from one of the most violent Atlantic winters in memory. The quality and diversity of entries has been astounding, and we’d like to say a thank you everyone who entered, commented or simply shared the stoke.
We’re keen to hear your opinion, but there is no need to vote. The winner will be decided by the 38 surfers who made the monthly shortlists. They will pick out one of the above sessions, and the edit with the most votes will win, simple as that. Thank God we don’t have to make the decision.
If you’d like to take another browse through all of this season’s Winter Sessions, click HERE. There are some real scorchers in there which didn’t quite make it through to the final, from Micah Lester at a cold cove to Jobe Harriss tearing a fickle lefthander to shreds. We’re already looking forward to next year!
A chance to get your artwork imprinted on a custom Fourth at Surf Bettys festival in Newquay
A teaser for Matt Lackey's new bodyboard project, showcasing some of the best heavy waves the world has on offer
Mikey Wright having fun, making the most of being home in Lennox