Europe Goes Boom! – Surfing LA

It… is… the… never… ending… Swell Story. Hey, we don’t make the rules. The atmosphere does. And this November, it decided to enforce low pressure on the U.S. East Coast. Major low pressure. Like first-cold-front-of-the-season low pressure. This indiscriminate system sent swell everywhere — from South Beach, Miami to South Shore, Massachusetts — and it didn’t stop there. Caribbean hotspots went kablooey, too. with the shores of Western Europe on deck. And it STILL didn’t stop. If anything, it grew bigger. So big, it gave birth — to twins!

Taz Knight, Ireland. “Honestly, it was almost as good as it gets, if it weren’t so setty,” ays Taz. “We had a solid half-hour wait between them, and even then there were only a couple rideable waves in a set. Plus, it was the busiest I’ve ever seen it [laughs], but it was still a sick day and I had a nice one, so I was frothing.” Photo: Lighthouse Industries

Ben Howey, Monday at Bantham in South Devon. The jewel of the South Hams is usually crazy-busy, but on this day, the crowd was kind of thin with only a handful taking off on the outside. Photo: Luke Prokopiou

We tapped Surfline’s European forecaster Jamie Bateman for intel: “When a coastal low formed off Georgia and shifted north over the weekend of November 6th-7th, it sent surf to much of the U.S. East Coast,” he said. “As this low moved into the Gulf Stream, though, it split into two. By Thursday, the southernmost system or “twin” jumped onto the jet stream express, where it met a cold front pushing south off Newfoundland. By Friday, the storm dropped to a 960mb beast, spanning more than 1,500 miles of North Atlantic real estate with 50-knot-plus winds spiraling around an evolving center.

 Round One: South Florida | Round Two: Western Atlantic

Saturday at Supertubos. Photo: Helio Antonio

“The initial pulse of long-period, W/WNW swell from this system arrived on Europe’s western fringes on Sunday with exposed breaks in Ireland seeing inconsistent, double-overhead sets with that all-important, light offshore wind. By Sunday afternoon exposed Cornish beaches were going rogue with unruly, double-overhead peaks; while further north in Devon and South Wales, the swell built into the afternoon with standouts going double-overhead by sundown with light wind. W swell magnets along the south coast of England started seeing see signs of the swell, as well, with a few select reefs in the far west turning on by Sunday evening.

Saturday at Nazare. And it’s been pumping there ever since. Photo: Jon Aspuru

“Monday was the day in the Southwest UK, though, with light wind and booming swell refracting into bays and beaches that are usually way out of a W/WNW swell’s reach. The swell had calmed a little from Sunday, but exposed beaches in Cornwall, Devon, Gower and Prembrokeshire were still seeing double-overhead sets; smaller at spots where the swell had to refract and negotiate shallower water. But even in the Severn Estuary, for example, the surf was still overhead and sheet glass — a fine thing and a rare one.

Watch Live Cams: Cornwall | Devon | France | Spain | Portugal

Xabi Lopez, Nazare. “This was my first time surfing Nazare, and this was the best wave of my life,” says Xabi. “I was with the Surfaros team and it was an incredible day. I want to thank Axi Muniain for helping me push my limits. Already looking forward to the next few days of swell, which look promising.” Photo: @ritxigoya

Nazare Live Cams: Cliff View | Beach Overview

“The swell moved south into the remaining west-facing shores in Europe, where in most cases it was greeted by light offshore wind. Exposed beaches in France and Portugal were awash with double to triple-overhead sets at the peak of the swell. There were some tricky onshore N winds in Biscay at times, while the west coast of Portugal saw light, offshore wind, especially during the mornings

Sunday in Ireland. Lonely, shallow and heavy, this was not a spot for the fainthearted — and only for those willing to wait 30 minutes for a bomb. It’s 50/50 if you make it out or get eaten whole. Best to avoid it unless your surname is Lane, Maguire or Knight. Photo: Gary McCall

“And the storm’s not done yet. It bumped in a strong Greenland high over the weekend and stalled briefly, allowing another trough of low pressure — the second “twin” — to move off the coast of Newfoundland and catch up with the main system, which only added more energy to the North Atlantic. Another round of fairly solid WNW/NW swell from this system is currently marching ashore in Ireland and will be filtering south over the coming days.

Forecast: Ireland | N Cornwall | S CornwallN Devon | S Devon | NE England 

Ben Skinner, Monday on England’s south coast. “I buzzed from beach to beach, capturing frothing rippers and seasoned champions as they took apart the thick-lipped wave,” says photographer Mike Newman. “A fruitful photo fest of pristine, barreling Atlantic perfection at one spot, then mega-crammed shorebreak carnage at the next spot. Much head-swiveling and a rapid trigger finger were needed to capture all the action.” Photo: Mike Newman


Storm Location and Movement: 962mb-968mb, 1000km ESE of Nova Scotia on Friday the 12th, tracking to 1500km east of Nova Scotia by Saturday the 13th
Storm Seas: Satellite observed 40-foot+ seas on Saturday the 13th
Swell Travel Time: Two-three days depending on location in Western Europe
Swell Height, Period and Direction:
M3 Buoy: 20 feet at 18 seconds W swell on Sunday the 14th
SW Isles of Scilly Buoy: 14 feet at 18 seconds W swell on Sunday the 14th
Perranporth Waverider Buoy: 9 feet at 18 seconds W swell on Sunday the 14th

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Nic Von Rupp, Monday at Nazare. “This was a great morning of great waves at Nazare,” says Nic. “It was crazy: back-to-back swells, lots of paddling. Honestly, this one was pretty wild.” Photo: Helio Antonio

Portugal on Saturday. Photo: Noora Lindstrom

Supertubos, Portugal. Photo: Helio Antonio

Croyde was eerily quiet on Sunday. Everyone else likely headed south to catch the brunt of the swell. It’s rare for North Devon’s (and perhaps England’s) premier beachie to be a ghost town. Photo: Alan Danby

Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Monday at Nazare. “It’s been a wild few days in general with some magic moments,” says Twiggy. “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 than 9’0″, which always makes me happy.” Photo: Helio Antonio

Pierre Rollet, Nazare. Photo: Jon Aspuru

Tom Butler at the Cribbar, as the swell peaked overnight Sunday into Monday. “Sometimes it happens like that,” says Tom.“But it was still fun out there. It must’ve been a solid six-foot on the beach, and the Cribbar was much bigger. We had great fun out there on the ski, a bit of practice for when the bigger stuff comes through later in the season.” Photo: Clare James

Jayce Robinson at Porthleven on the south coast of Cornwall. “It was inconsistent, with the odd bomb, and I got a couple solid ones,” says Jayce. “A bit hard on a 5’4″ but I like a challenge. I’ve always liked riding smaller boards, but it was way too warpy out there for it, to be honest.” Photo: Manonaplanet

Canary Islands. This is the next island over from where the catastrophic volcanic eruption happened. Conditions were windy and shifty, but there were a few diamonds out there. This “eye up high” shows the swell hugging the coastline. Photo: Manu Miguelez

Rodrigo Koxa, Nazare. “The size was probably around double to triple-overhead, maybe a few bigger ones,” says photographer Helio Antonio. “But that swell direction was a bit too west for Nazare and the canyon there. But it was a great session for those who wanted to practice their tow surf. There were a few people paddling, but it was pretty challenging since, as we know, waves break all over the place at Nazare.” Photo: Helio Antonio

Croyde on Sunday. Photo: Alan Danby

Unidentified, Sunday at Nazare. Photo: Jon Aspuru

Conor Maguire, Sunday in Ireland. “This swell at home was really fun,” says Maguire. “It’s one of the busier seasons we’ve ever had, with lots of traveling surfers around town. I personally love seeing new faces and incredibly talented pros giving our waves a proper dig. Everyone in the water was super friendly and respectful of the locals, which was nice.” Photo: Lighthouse Industries

Maya Gabeira, Nazare. “It was a consistent week of surf here,” says Maya. “Not full-size, because of the west angle, but the paddling crew pushed the performance daily. It was a good week for paddling, and we squeezed in tow sessions to get our boards ready and the team prepared for a possible big day.” Photo: Helio Antonio

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