Europe’s First XXL Swell of the Year

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 24d ago

First major swell of ‘23 is about to unleash across parts of Western Europe. This thing is a bit of a beast, devouring the North Atlantic — but will the surf be any good?

This swell should start to fill in from Saturday evening. Before that, today looks mighty fine for the pounding shores of Hossegor. More on that soon.

By the weekend, the wind is going to be the main issue here; strong west wind for the beachies further north so it would mean finding a lot of shelter to get the most out of this thing.

Swell angle looks good for Nazare but the wind — yikes.

Swell angle looks good for Nazare but the wind — yikes.

Here’s MSW forecaster Tony Butt with the break down.

"A low pressure which has just started to form off Newfoundland is forecast to expand and deepen rapidly over the next 36 hours, as it moves in a straight line towards the ENE. By around midday Friday it is expected to be centred about half way between Iceland and the Azores, with an elongated area of strong WNW winds extending between its southern flank and a peripheral centre off Cape Farewell. This will start to generate some large, long-period swell.

"The whole thing continues to move ENE, with the centre of the system expected west of Scotland by Saturday, and a core of storm-force winds moving east towards Ireland. Open-ocean wave heights hit 40 feet or so late Friday, and the swell starts to hit westerly exposures in Ireland during Saturday, before propagating down into southern areas and peaking in France, Spain and Portugal on Sunday.

Our North Atlantic chart shows this big black blob's journey from Friday through Monday.

"Many spots including southwest Ireland, southwest UK, France and Portugal will have poor wind conditions at the peak of the swell, although things are expected to clean up as the swell ramps down through Monday. Best bet will probably be southern Portugal or Morocco."

Long story short — get to Morocco if you can.

Keep an eye on our cams: Nazare | Supertubos | Mundaka | Fistral | Croyde | Anchor Point | Safi |