UPDATE: UK May Bank Holiday Surf Forecast: Playful Pulse Means Waves for Everyone

Magicseaweed

by on

Updated 25d ago

  • Long weekend of fun waves expected
  • Far from XL conditions -- just waves anyone can enjoy
  • Swell is filling in now, should last into next week
  • Regional breakdowns, below
  • The UK's about to enter into a long Bank Holiday weekend. And the good news? There's a run of decent swell on the way. Not XL or XXL or any of that – but just fun-sized, clean surf for, well, the every surfer – and if that doesn't get your blood pumping for the next couple days, we're not sure what will.

    Right now, it looks like there's almost a week's worth of swell on the way. But we'll let MSW's Tony Butt break it down. “An area of high pressure is building over France, which will expand northwards over the next few days and is expected over England by Saturday. This will help to keep local conditions clean in areas north of Biscay.

    Forecast + Live Cam: Fistral

    Our at-a-glance chart for North Fistral.

    Our at-a-glance chart for North Fistral.

    Regional England Breakdowns
    On the north coast of Cornwall, expect some good-quality, clean, small to medium beachbreak surf, with an initial pulse on Friday, more or less continuing through till Monday, perhaps dropping slightly early Saturday. Wave heights average around four feet or so, with light southeast winds throughout.

    In North Devon, the swell arrives a bit later and is a bit smaller, with wave heights peaking at around three feet or so early Sunday, although swell-magnets such as Croyde might get a bit more at low tide. Winds are light and from an easterly quarter throughout.

    At westerly exposures in South Cornwall, wave heights are considerably smaller, perhaps reaching three feet, say, early Sunday, but conditions are good, with light perhaps  moderate easterly winds. 

    The swell struggles to reach south Devon or anywhere further east, with wave heights perhaps reaching two feet during the first pulse of swell on Friday, which has a more southerly direction.

    In southwest Wales, some great small to medium surf on Friday, up to three or four feet at westerly exposures, dropping a notch on Saturday, then becoming more solid on Sunday before ramping down on Monday. Winds are light and from an easterly quarter throughout.

    On the east coast of England, a pulse of north swell was generated by a squeeze of isobars off Norway last Tuesday and Wednesday, which is producing wave heights or around four feet or so at northerly exposures on Friday. This will taper off steadily over the weekend, becoming more or less flat by Monday. Winds are light east or southeast.

    That fetch off Norway expanded out towards the Shetland Isles, creating an area of north-northeast winds that send a pulse of swell towards northern Scotland. As of Friday, this swell is about to disappear, but some small west swell is filtering around from that Atlantic system. This could produce some good surf at westerly exposures and extreme swell-magnets such as Brimm's Ness, with wave heights reaching three feet or so, peaking on Sunday.

    Our North Atlantic swell chart
 on Friday. What this means? Waves for the every surfer, and every one.

    Our North Atlantic swell chart
    on Friday. What this means? Waves for the every surfer, and every one.

    Rest of Europe
    “In Ireland, an initial pulse of swell arrives late Thursday, peaking overnight and then dropping on Friday, before increasing again on Saturday and persisting through the weekend and into early next week. Wave heights reach six feet or more at westerly exposures on Saturday, and winds range between light southeast and moderate south, perhaps southwest for a while at exposed spots in the south.

    “In Cornwall, expect some good-quality, clean, small to medium beachbreak surf, with an initial pulse on Friday, more or less continuing through till Monday, perhaps dropping slightly early Saturday. Wave heights average around four feet or so, with light southeast winds throughout.

    “In France, a pulse of swell arrives on Saturday, but hampered by westerly winds. Things clean up on Sunday as the swell increases to around five feet or so by afternoon, and continues into early next week, gradually ramping down. Winds are mostly light from an easterly quarter, particularly north of Hossegor, with northerly breezes in the afternoons.

    “In northern Spain and down into Portugal, wind conditions aren’t so good, with north-easterlies along the north coast and northerlies down the west coast, becoming fresh or strong at exposed spots in Portugal. The cleanest surf will probably be found at southwest exposures in Galicia, with wave heights averaging around four or five feet and moderate to fresh northeast winds."

    Cover shot by Mike Newman.