For the past week or so, all eyes have been trained on Portugal's hyper wave Nazare , as they do when that wave jacks to the XXL region. But also birthed from that recent run of swell was a classic session at everyone's favourite river mouth wave, Mundaka.
And oh did it get good. We've not seen arms-in-the-air barrels out of Mundaka for some time. Let's face it, usually, when a decent-sized swell pulses into the Basque country's premier wave, it will also travel to Nazare and....other....spots. Meaning photographers and hellmen position themselves to capitalise on the exposure from Portugal. However, thanks to lensman Manu Miguelez who stayed put on Spain's northern shore, we captured this session throwing down over the weekend.
For those unaccustomed to the nuance of Mundaka, it is a near-flawless, draining lefthander, nestled in the heart of the Basque. The village is quaint, hemmed by a bustling fishing community. And the wave? There's a long, triangular sandbank that captures and unloads strong NW swells - with rides up to 200 metres. The takeoff is challenging and can be slightly harrowing.
And then there's the crowds. It is fully saturated. Mundaka ain't no playground, nor is it for the spectator sitting in the lineup. It is head down, paddle. You swing and miss, it could be dangerous. But it is also waiting to be called to the top of the point, if you're not a local. Then there's the rip... But when it all comes out sunny-side up, it is one of the best waves you will ever surf.
To run down the swell, we turn to MSW forecaster Tony Butt, who said: “The spectacular waves at Mundaka last week were produced by a squeeze of isobars on the southwest flank of a large, complex area of low pressure that had been covering most of the North Atlantic.
“The fetch, positioned roughly between Ireland and Greenland, contained storm-force northwest winds and generated a largish, long-period swell that propagated straight into the Bay of Biscay.
“The swell arrived in Mundaka on Thursday and continued into Friday, with wave heights in the eight to ten foot range and periods around 16 secs. Wind conditions were perfect, with moderate offshores from a southerly direction, and low tide springs, late morning, coincided with the peak of the swell. Add to that the fact that the sandbar was in good shape just after the beginning of the season, and you couldn’t have wished for more.”
Here's a run through of all that transpired.