The bite of winter in the wind and the taste of mince pies on the tongue all point to one thing – we've turned the corner, charging head first into the frigid depths of the Northern hemisphere's swell season.
The first month of winter kicked off with plenty of grimace and an onslaught of tubes. Rest assured the Winter Session caught the best of it. Reluctantly we've culled the entries from the past month to a top 10, of which two will be selected to make the final.
In no particular order, here is the best of November. Let us know your favourites in the comments at the bottom.
1. One Mundaka Drainer – Three Tubes for Aritz Aranburu
In an early season barrel bonanza, the world tour's single Basque representative found his way through three tubes in a single drainer with enough leftover for some flare in between.
2. A New Jersey Barrel Fest
This is what The Winter Session is all about – a fistful of cleanly exited milk chocolate tubes in 90 seconds. Including three tubes in one wave and a painfully close attempt at making the deepest tube of the comp (so far).
"That triple tube was awesome," says Tom. "When I was looking at it from the beach, I saw some waves with five tubes sections. It was hard to believe."
3. Thumping Hossegor with Vincent Duvignac
When the spotlight leaves Hossegor, the barrels persist, complete with a gloomier, colder and fiercer backdrop. This is winter surfing at its best.
4. Pumping Funnels in the Gironde
Winter took a while to arrive in France this year. The warm weather and the summer swell continued well into November and Nicolas Remi was more than happy to capitalise on the fleeing summer hordes with the last of the temperate weather.
5. Nazaré is Best at 4 to 6ft.
Stepping into winter, Nazaré is putting forward a particularly strong case for being the most exciting beachbreak on the planet. You'll be plenty familiar with the XXL antics going down there on a regular basis and in the absence of a huge swell, its capabilities are equally captivating.
6. Spitting Danish Kegs
According to Mor, this spot can hold waves many times larger but like many of the waves in the northern corners of the North Atlantic, reliability isn't its strongest hand.
"It can work three or four times a week for three month straight like last winter, but it can go bad and deep for a year without surf," says Mor. "For now no complaints, it's just the way I like it."
7. Gearoid Mcdaid the Youthful Tube Hoarder
At just 18 years young, Gearoid Mcdaid is the next generation of Irish surfing. A hot shot on the European contest scene, he's got big plans to travel and to give the QS a crack.
"This session was really fun at one of the spots around my house. It was from a week of pretty much pumping waves the whole time which was pretty sick to have," says Gearoid. "It goes like that sometimes, where the weather sits in a pattern of good winds, weather and waves."
8. Who is Norman Landa?
With a busy start to the season in the Basque Country, this is not the first edit we've seen drop from Mundaka in early winter, nor the only shortlisted session from November. Filmed during the same run of swell, something in the range of 72 hours divided Norman Landa and Aritz Aranburu in the their Winter Session quests.
9. JoJo Roper Battles Mavericks
Those who chase swells no matter what are rarely at their desired level of preparation when the day arrives.
"This session was spur of the moment," says JoJo. "The day before the swell upgraded, so I had to bail work and get ready. I actually drove all night to get up there. Exhausted when I woke up the next day but the swell took all day to fill in which helped me get ready."
10. Skimboarding Nazare with Brad Domke
If we said someone had taken to towing into Nazare on a skimboard – you'd hardly need us to tell you who. The forecast wasn't the largest but these unique teepees of constructive interference don't need much persuasion to double up into solid lumps, still within the 'fun' range for these guys.
With November behind us, the gates are wide open for December entries.
Prize: $20,000 cash for the overall winning edit. Monthly winning surfers and filmers (Nov to Feb) get $500 each to spend on swell.com.
To enter download the sting HERE and send your edit via to: firstname.lastname@example.org. All entries receive a year's MSW Pro.