Finally. That 50mph wind blew through, the storms raged and quit, and the swell stacked up across the south west UK. Last week, that little corner of the earth was kissed by three days of glorious offshore conditions, with some winter sun to boot.
This run of swell kick started on Tuesday – but the wind was funky... swell was in the water though. Wednesday though, ooooeee, waves were solid all day in some spots – albeit, with a bit of wonk still mixed in from the previous day's winds. If you'd taken the day off work and got to the shore, you probably thought it was all a bit of a hoax -- having to wait 20 minutes plus for the sets to come through, due to the long period swell.
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When they rifled to shore though. sets were well overhead, cleaning out the lineup of those lured into a false sense of security, sitting in a bit. As the day panned out on the north coast of Cornwall, things only got glassier.
And that lasted well into the weekend. We know young phenom Lukas Skinner and photographer Luke Gartside went on a bit of a goose chase. We know a premier reef wasn't all-time, but a good size and a great opening day of 2022. A few of the beachies had a little more juice in them than originally forecast – that was due to the slight north in the swell that shot gunned waves to shore.
But this storm actually began brewing more than a week before it hit. And that's why it's always a good idea to keep an eye on the long-range forecast.
As MSW forecaster Tony Butt says: “A low pressure started to form off Newfoundland on January 8. Over the next day or so, it moved out into the Atlantic, got much bigger and travelled north, sitting just to the east of Greenland by the end of Sunday 9.
“It then moved northeast towards Iceland, bringing with it strong winds to the southern, which helped generate swell. The main bulk of that swell then travelled towards the far north, but a considerable amount also spread out towards the southeast, arriving in the southwest UK on Tuesday 11.
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“While all this was going on, another area of high pressure shifted from the Azores eastwards towards Portugal, then got bigger in the north. By late Tuesday and early Wednesday, it was centred over the Celtic Sea, creating very light wind conditions over southwest England and southern Ireland.
“In Cornwall, the beginning of the swell coincided with some left over swell and winds from a previous system, but conditions quickly cleaned up, (that would be that slightly funky day on Tuesday) with some good surf late in the day, particularly at west-facing spots.
“The swell peaked overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, with wave heights around six feet at exposed spots and periods of around 16 secs. It then tapered down very gradually during the rest of the week, falling below three feet at most spots by late Saturday.
“That high pressure persisted, keeping wind conditions excellent, with light east or southeast most of the time, picking up a bit on Friday as the centre of the high drifted slightly east.”
Keep an eye on your local forecasts for way more coming in too.