When it comes to waves, weather and world events, January has been a pretty bleak month for many. So, when the forecast lit up last week with prophecy of the biggest clean swell in recent memory, it was the perfect ticket to lift the spirits of surfers and storm watchers alike.
After a few fun warmup sessions among the forerunners, the swell kicked in in earnest on Saturday afternoon, accompanied first by howling south easterlies and lashings of rain, then calm winds and hanging sea mist, and finally a gusting north easterly, giving several regions a window of solid, clean surf before darkness descended.
The following two days saw the sort of big, groomed groundswell that transforms the entire coastline, with regional classics, tucked away novelty waves and sleepy outer bombies all coming roaring to life. In Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and beyond, surfers got amongst it and socially distanced crowds turned out to ooh and ahh together, elated at the rare opportunity to experience a bit of collective awe and share musings on something other than the pandemic.
Further south, Europe’s coastlines received plenty of the same swell but were mostly blighted by howling onshores. In scenes reminiscent of the Fairy Liquid in the local fountain prank, popular circa 07, some of SW France’s darling promenades were covered in a thick layer of sea foam (which Euro-Editor Paul Evans wasted no time in riding his bike through.)
However, as we write, the wind has just swung offshore and with a solid swell marching down from Biscay, France and Northern Spain both look set to see some epic waves over the coming days. And with more swell for Blighty on its way at the end of the week, let’s hope this was just the start of a classic February all round.
For now though, here are a few choice moments from the last couple of days, captured around Ireland, Wales, the South West and the Channel Coast:
Cover photo: @lugarts