High Surf Advisory: XXL Swell Headed To Europe

A crew of big-wave surfers heads to the Old World for a swell that could topple Hercules.
The Beast of the Atlantic © magicseaweed.com
By Brian Roddy

There’s something big and mean brewing in the Northern Atlantic. A true beast of a swell is just about to batter Europe and some of the world’s best and boldest big-wave riders will be there to roll the dice. We spoke with our friends at MagicSeaWeed.com for a full synopsis of the swell. Stay tuned for coverage, and send safe thoughts to all hellmen and hellwomen in Europe.


The swell for Saturday is forecast to peak around the 21ft@18second range. This is well into the upper end of the scale for Mullaghmore. As a classic point break setup protected by the headland Mully is sensitive to swell direction and we saw this issue, as expected, with the recent 'Hercules' swell. This swell is still relatively westerly with a large part of the best fetch sending swell to the South East, however by comparisom there's still meaningful fetch in the 270-280 degree range. With this, coupled with the lower period, we'd expect to see potentially larger surf and less inconsistency than on that swell.

The issue, as always, is the wind. 'Hercules' was relatively unusual in passing to the South of Ireland. The winds were strong, but sustained from the south or just west of south leaving surfable conditions for much of the day. With this storm, as is more normal, the eye passes almost directly over the break during the peak of the swell. The issue with this is a higher level of variability in the forecast even close to the event. At the moment the forecast is for similar strong southerly winds in the morning as the swell builds, moving through west to a very disruptive north west quickly later in the day as it peaks. Where now we have a short window of potentially surfable conditions in the morning on a dropping tide a change of just a few hours in the wind forecast could mean victory at sea from first light and conditions similar to those we saw make the break unsurfable on last weekends huge swell.


Swell builds on Sunday morning with a forecast peak around 18ft@19 seconds. If this forecast holds it lacks the exceptional long period power of the Hercules swell but where that swell peaked overnight here the maximum size is likely delivered around the very low midday tide.

Winds are a little tricky with a general moderate to strong westerly flow at the start of the weekend leaving some bump in the water and possibly continuing into Sunday morning before the wind moves to a better more southerly direction and drops.


Again the swell builds on Sunday morning peaking around midday in a similar 20ft@19 second range. In contrast to an overnight peak and dropping swell for Hercules. Winds are an issue here too with a problematic westerly flow for most of the day before high pressure and lighter southerly winds take over later in the day.


The swell builds into Sunday morning to a genuinely huge 23ft@19 seconds peak from the NW. This again pushes into potentially record breaking surf territory for size, in fact well in excess of the 16ft@16 seconds that saw some reporters calling the waves 100ft.

Winds are always an issue on such an incredibly exposed beach break. On paper the winds for Sunday, light and from the south west, are absolutely fine. But given the complexities of navigating this lineup the stronger NW wind overnight and the wind sea it'll still be pushing into the lineup, will be an issue.

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