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Lyndon Wake came in a bit deflated before lunch, then after some grub snagged this bomb at Mullaghmore.© 2014 Gary Mccall
A few buoy highlights, the asterisk refers to 'significant height'. Sig height is the average of the highest one-third of all of the wave heights. The max wave height will have been by definition larger.© 2014 Magicseaweed
While most exposed spots across Europe were blown to gigantic mush, Mullaghmore remained rideable. Ollie O'Flaherty charging during the peak of the swell.© 2014 Michal Czubala
A precious stretch of north facing coastline. Castle Rock in Northern Ireland.© 2014 Andrew Mennie
"Taken in gale force winds and stormy conditions, located in Porthcawl. The South Wales lighthouse was battered by onshore winds and the high tide. Where the ocean meets the sky."© 2014 Walters222
Storm swell smashing the pier/seawall at Porthcawl.© 2014 Josh Ken
Cross-offshores in North Cornwall giving a brief illusion of shape. This was not a day for the exposed spots.© 2014 Matthew Loots
Nic von Rupp at Bundoran the day before the storm.
While the stand-ups towed, Shambles McGoldrick tried paddling on his sponge. The results were spectacular, if not always successful.© 2014 Michal Czubala
Ollie O'Flaherty.© 2014 Michal Czubala
Surfing the eye of the storm isn't the easiest of tasks.© 2014 Tony Reddington
Unfavourable winds rendered Nazare utterly unrideable, however, It still made for a good photographic subject.© 2014 Elena Semenova
Size best viewed from a distance in Brittany.© 2014 titulipe
Ever fancied a trip to Brittany?© 2014 titulipe
This storm had legs as they say on Fleet Street. Storm stories filled the newspapers with our charts everywhere, whether we had been asked or not.
Jersey showing some size. Once again there are no takers.© 2014 Samwise
A gruesome Mully bomb, sans rider. The general public are now very much aware of the big-wave surf scene at Mully, and a fair few turned up to enjoy the show.© 2014 RorysPhotoshop
There are few places better than Nazare to watch the arrival of one of the storms of the year, despite the lack of wave riders.© 2014 Elena Semenova
The famous rocks and waves of Nazare.© 2014 Elena Semenova
Heading down to the base of the Portuguese coast, the cliffs of Sagres received a thorough drubbing.© 2014 Kernow
Evidently the beachbreaks around Sagres also suffered from a surplus of size. Giant lines with not a neoprene clad soul in sight.© 2014 Kernow
Distant lines loom on the horizon near Sagres.© 2014 Kernow
You ever stood on these cliffs in Sagres? That is big.© 2014 Kernow
Fist of the storm in Sagres...© 2014 Kernow
With a coastline as crooked as the South West England's, finding shelter is rarely a problem.© 2014 Christopher Halls
Lanich seafront becoming one with the Atlantic.© 2014 Niall Cosgrove
A full breakdown of wave heights by buoy for those of you still with us.© 2014 magicseaweed
For the vast majority, Monday was a day for gawking at buoy measurements and seeking out shelter. Much of Europe’s West Coast was ravaged by wind and an excess of swell, funnelling wave riders toward those coastal crannies reserved for exceptional occasions.
This swell has been hyped, our charts splashed across the front pages of papers, news teams were lining up to talk “monster waves”. And make no mistake, this was a big swell. But then again the Atlantic gets a lot of huge swells during the winter. A black hearted swell chart looming over Europe was enough to get the touch paper sparking and the editor even had the personal joy of seeing MSW charts lined-up next to pictures of his house sitting 3ft under the flood water.
You get the picture, people were interested in this storm as it affected them, the weather was making its presence felt in a series of intense lows which had marched across the Atlantic one-after-another for what seemed like weeks. Saving the biggest for last, Hercules arrived and tired hacks, sea defences and sodden riverbanks gave into the force of the water.
In the Bay of Biscay the wave buoy peaked in a range about 10% larger than anything in the past 6 years of archival records we keep here – the downside for surfers looking to get the very best of this at big wave spots like Belharra was that, as predicted, the swell peaked overnight.Ben Freeston
“This storm was huge, but the North Atlantic expects huge storms in winter, as such the story for surfers was more of subtle differences with recent years than an out and out record breaker.” Says forecaster Ben Freeston “For Mullaghmore the swell ranked as relatively normal – given the frequency with which the largest swells arrive head-on here the southerly side swipe from this one hit the nearest wave buoys in a range that’s seen 3 to 4 times (or more) in an average year. However this same southerly path for the storm pushed it into the short term record books for other European locations. In the Bay of Biscay the wave buoy peaked in a range about 10% larger than anything in the past 6 years of archival records we keep here – the downside for surfers looking to get the very best of this at big wave spots like Belharra was that, as predicted, the swell peaked overnight and by the time daylight and tide conspired to make it surfable it was impressive but back into a more typical range seen on the largest swells previously.
“The direction and particularly long period of this swell made it an impressive candidate for the largest in English and Welsh waters in recent years with the swell wrapping into less accessible Channel Coast locations with readings in the 12ft@25 seconds range – although regrettably extremely strong winds and a lack of locations handling this power directly meant surfing was largely confined to smaller waves at sheltered spots.
Portugal saw swell in the 40ft range at peak, but with a tricky southerly wind which made surfing impossible at Nazare. The real story of quality and quantity will evolve further south still as this huge swell hits the point breaks of Morocco with good local winds and a contingent of world class surfers on hand to make the most of it.”
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