Most of northern Europe has seen a huge pulse of swell rifle in over the past few days, and that's not going to stop any time soon – with another swell hitting today, potentially tomorrow and the crescendo dropping on Sunday and early next week. It is back-to-back swells and the first we've seen like it this season.
But as with most powerful swells in Europe, it's accompanied by strong, onshore wind. So, if you know where works best in shelter, head there. Meanwhile, eyes are on Nazare, of course, a NW swell with strong cross/onshore wind mean it's going to be massive, but with 45mph+ wind, it's going to be tough. Barely surfable, maybe.
Find your spot and check the forecast: UK + Ireland
“The last week or so has seen a classic ‘fluid’ pattern in the North Atlantic, with a strong, meanderless jet stream and a north-south split in the pressure field,” says MSW forecaster Tony Butt. “In other words, a band of high pressure in the south, a continuous stream of low pressures across the north, and a strong westerly airstream in between. This general pattern is due to continue for at least the next few days.
Watch: Nazare live cam
“The current chart shows a large high centred over the Azores; and a complex area of low pressure in the north, with centres near Cape Farewell and the Faroe Islands. A band of strong to gale-force westerly winds blowing across the entire width of the North Atlantic is generating continuous large swell for most westerly exposures.
“Over the next few days expect several pulses of swell in quick succession, typically accompanied by strong winds from a westerly quarter in many places. Later today and into tomorrow, a pulse of swell hits Ireland and then filters down into Biscay, with wave heights over ten feet at most exposed spots.
"Then another pulse of large, long-period swell reaches exposed spots during the day on Friday, giving an extra boost to wave heights but accompanied by very strong westerly winds. Meanwhile, another swell will be brewing, which is expected to hit on Sunday, this time with much cleaner conditions in many places.
Spot guide: Spain + Portugal
“As is often the case, the trick will be to find spots with good wind conditions but still a reasonable amount of swell. Best bets will probably be way north in northwest Ireland or western Scotland, where the bulk of that westerly airstream passes to the south, or way south into Morocco, which will be under the influence of that band of high pressure. Nazaré will, of course, be gigantic, but very bumpy most of the time, with perhaps a window of lighter winds around the weekend.”