UPDATE, Friday August 19: The swell is already hitting Ireland, with wave heights up to ten feet or so at exposed spots, accompanied by fresh to strong westerly winds and very lumpy conditions. This will continue overnight and then drop over the weekend.
In southwest UK, the northwest swell struggles to get around Ireland, leaving a messy three to four feet with fresh westerly winds. Things might clean up a bit on Sunday as winds back southerly, but the swell is not very well lined up.
Down into in to southwest France, the swell arrives throughout the day Saturday and persists through Sunday. Conditions are good for most of Saturday, with light variable winds, but are hampered by annoying moderate onshores on Sunday. Wave heights are up to six feet or so.
Along the coast of northern Spain, the NNW swell hits more square-on, with wave heights well over six feet at exposed spots in the west, smaller in the east. Winds are light and variable in the mornings, with northeast breezes in the afternoons, but strong north-easterly trades in the very far west.
The along to Portugal, those trades turn into northerlies and are strong perhaps even gale force, severely hampering the swell at many places.
Now, where to surf!? Check Ireland (look at Sunday!) | UK (ragged but there's something for the wave starved) | Hossegor (Saturday/Sunday too) | Western Spain (an idea would be just to go to Spain, forget about the rain and bask away like it never happened, sun and waves from Saturday!).
EARLIER, Wednesday August 17: The rain's here and with it – waves! This could be some bonus summer size for Europe's western flank, coupled with the warmest sea surface temperatures the Old Continent can muster. We're talking actually warm XL summer waves to some good, logging cruisers – a whole mix is right at the door and coming through over this weekend.
This month though, large parts of Europe have seen back-to-back heatwaves, with temperatures pushing north of 35 degrees C, with some inland places capping out in the 40s. Bizarrely, there's also been a few days of pumping surf – and for some places having that mix of 35C weather and overhead waves are an anomaly for this side of the warmer months.
In the UK, for example, the landscape is more Dune than flourishing summer flora. Air temps sky-rocketed, the water around the 18/19C mark, the warmest it'll be all year. It was baking enough to paddle out in boardies (another anomaly) and not shudder all session.
This week. It's different. It's on. Winter-swell style on. Push through the next four solid days of rain and the swell will be there, from the UK (could be a bit ragged there mind) and Ireland down into France and Spain (go there for the best bet).
“Between now and midnight Wednesday, a low pressure system off Cape Farewell, which is the southern tip of Greenland, will get stronger and start its journey north east towards Iceland,” said MSW forecaster Tony Butt.
“This is where it'll weaken a touch, but its strong westerly wind will get sandwiched between this system and an area of large high pressure, north of the Azores, which will end up generating a pulse of swell, hitting Ireland first and then filtering down towards Biscay.
“In Ireland and southwest UK, the swell arrives at the same time as the storm itself, so conditions will be ragged. At Mullaghmore, for example, wave heights pick up overnight Thursday-Friday, reaching ten feet or more by first light, continuing through the morning. The swell steadily decreases during Friday afternoon and becoming much less solid on Saturday. Winds will be fresh southwest at first, veering west later.”
Sunday in Ireland could be a day for everyone, with a fun pulse expected and fresh, offshore wind. Stick this one in your calendar and check in other next few days.
"Meanwhile, the swell will struggle to get around Ireland for the likes of Cornwall. Expect some ragged surf on Friday and Saturday, up to about four or five feet, accompanied by fresh westerly winds.
“Further south into France and Northern Spain, local conditions are much better, with wave heights peaking on Saturday and mostly light northeast winds. The NNW swell direction means that the western half of northern Spain will pick up the bulk of the swell, reaching six feet or so at north and northwest exposures in the far west.
“In Portugal, the swell arrives late Saturday, but is smaller than northern Spain and plagued with fresh northerly winds.”