XL Euro Swell: Portugal Pumps, Nazare Goes Huge

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 22d ago

Here we go. The first sign of these back-to-back swells filled into Europe over the weekend, setting off spots across multiple countries, including the UK, Ireland, Spain and of course Portugal and its hyper spectacle wave Nazare.

Yesterday and Saturday were paddle days for the world's biggest wave. The swell had a load of west in it, which isn't ideal for Nazare, so first impressions were that we wouldn't get those tee-pees, bombing to shore at Praia do Norte. But that ominous, deep-water canyon off the headland there can do miraculous things – like, jacking a pounding swell into some XL smashers.

Live cam: Nazare

Nazare from a different perspective.

Nazare from a different perspective.

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.

20-year-old Xabi Lopez made the mission out to Nazare from the Basque Country and proceeded to paddle one of the biggest waves of the day from yesterday. "It is the best wave of my life, this has been the first day of the trip to Nazare with the surfaros team, and it has been an incredible day. I want to thank Axi Muniain for helping me push my limits today. Looking forward to the next days of swell that promises a lot.”

Xabi Lopez on his first trip to Nazare.

Xabi Lopez on his first trip to Nazare.

© 2021 - Ritxi Goya.

And Twiggy paddled a crazy one too. “It’s been a wild few days in general with some magic moments,” he told MSW. “Everyone has been having an epic time, paddling, towing, foiling, skimboarding and bringing their A game to a serious week of swell in the Old Country. I haven’t used a board smaller then 9’0 which always makes me happy.”

Twig!

Twig!

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.

And the great thing about Portugal is, it’s filled with remarkable set ups. So when Nazare is doing its jaw-dropping thing, other spots will start to blow up.

Martin Schricke.

Martin Schricke.

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.

Pierre Rollet.

Pierre Rollet.

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.

For instance, about 60kms south of Nazare, photographer Helio Antonio was shooting at everyone's favourite sand-bottomed wave, Supertubos and he's been there for the past few days. “It got kind of wild,” he said. “Yesterday was crazy, lots of backwash but a few gems in there.”

Live cam: Supertubos

© 2021 - Helio Antonio.

Supertubos from an eye up high.

Supertubos from an eye up high.

© 2021 - Helio Antonio.

Noora Lindstrom had been stationed up even further south. “It was big, almost too big. Pretty much everything was maxed out.”

Noora Lindstrom headed further south and came across this monster.

Noora Lindstrom headed further south and came across this monster.

© 2021 - Watery Photos.

Breaking down the swell for Portugal, MSW forecaster Tony Butt said: "The swells originated from two low pressure systems that developed in the far northwest of the Atlantic towards the end of last week. The first deepened north of the Azores and tracked northeast, passing over Scotland on Friday before quickly dissipating in the North Sea. An area of storm-force winds on its southern flank generated a large swell and some windy conditions for northern areas on Friday and some cleaner swell in the south on Friday and early Saturday.

Sets marching straight to shore further south in Portugal.

Sets marching straight to shore further south in Portugal.

© 2021 - Watery Photos.

"The second system was hard on its heels, deepening northwest of the Azores on Saturday, before arcing north towards Iceland and hardly encroaching on local areas in western Europe. It generated a pulse of high-quality long-period swell that reached most areas on Sunday and is currently decreasing through today.

We knew it was going to do wild things here yesterday, but oh my.

We knew it was going to do wild things here yesterday, but oh my.

© 2021 - Helio Antonio.

"In Portugal, the two swells arrived back to back, with clean conditions throughout. On Saturday, most spots had wave heights over six feet, with periods around 16 secs and light variable winds. On Sunday, the second pulse arrived, with periods up to 19 secs at the start, wave heights hitting eight feet or more and light northerly winds. The swell and good conditions are continuing today, Monday, and are expected to only gradually decrease throughout the rest of the day and tomorrow. At Nazaré, wave heights are much bigger, but the westerly direction isn’t producing those epic A-frame peaks."

© 2021 - Helio Antonio.

And before you think this has wrapped up – it hasn't. The swell's still hammering in today so stay tuned for more coverage as it happens. Latest forecast HERE.

© 2021 - Helio Antonio.

Facing away from the fort and into the face of Nazare.

Facing away from the fort and into the face of Nazare.

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.

Natxo Gonzalez, right before dark.

Natxo Gonzalez, right before dark.

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.

Tony Laureano and Christian Merello go left, on the right, unknown.

Tony Laureano and Christian Merello go left, on the right, unknown.

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.

Sun sets last night on the last set of the day from Nazare.

Sun sets last night on the last set of the day from Nazare.

© 2021 - Jon Aspuru.