XXL Beast of the North Atlantic – But Will it Be Any Good?

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 9d ago

  • North Atlantic alive with swell
  • Bulk of this XXL brute arrives tomorrow
  • Poor wind for some spots, pockets of great surf elsewhere
  • Back-to-back storms have been steaming across the North Atlantic as of late. Right now, for parts of western Europe, you're probably experiencing those strong winds and giant seas, waiting for a break in the wind. There's been a couple of pockets of great surf over the past week but the biggest swell is on the way – it just might not be ideal for everywhere.

    In the sense that, there will be funky wind for most places when the bulk of this XXL swell arrives tomorrow.. At one point, this swell looked as if there was going to be strong onshore wind from the middle of Ireland, right down to southern Portugal. A forecast of this size though, things can change rapidly.

    Our North Atlantic swell chart from Tuesday November 22 right through until November 28. Yes, we see the XL swell -- but we also see the Med having a moment too.

    While this brutish swell will set off the likes of Nazare, it's looking a bit lumpy, the swell angle not ideal and the wind all wrong. By Friday though and we should see a different story, the wind cleans up, but the swell angle (which is very important for Nazare) is still not great. Keep an eye on the cam and check in throughout tomorrow and Friday.

    Up in the Basque, the forecast is much more positive, the swell is XL from the NW but the wind is light, which could mean a few days of great waves. Pockets around North Africa and the Algarve look set to be forecast winners too.

    But what's causing this swell? Right now, open-ocean wave heights north of the Azores are reaching the 40ft plus mark, thanks in part to an enormous, complex area of low pressure.

    And from there, we'll let MSW forecaster Tony Butt take it away: “The swell reaches the most exposed spots in western Ireland by late Wednesday, closely followed by Cornwall, Galicia, Portugal, northern Spain, France and Morocco.

    Our forecast for tomorrow at Nazare. Swell angle isn't ideal, it should be big and lumpy. One to watch.

    Our forecast for tomorrow at Nazare. Swell angle isn't ideal, it should be big and lumpy. One to watch.

    “In mid areas such as southwest Ireland and southwest UK, conditions will be mostly poor, with strong westerly winds and lumpy swell. In the far north, wind conditions are better at northwest and north-facing spots, but wave heights are smaller. In Portugal, winds are from a westerly quarter during the peak of the swell on Thursday, but clean up quickly on Friday as high pressure expands from the southwest.

    The best areas on Thursday will probably be the Basque Country and Morocco. The Basque Country is far enough away from the storm centre for winds to be light or moderate southerlies, with a large, long-period west swell, with wave heights up to 15 feet or more at west-facing reefs.

    Our swell chart showing this XXL pulse fill into the Bay of Biscay. While it's big, the wind in some parts along that stretch will be good. Check the forecast, here.

    Our swell chart showing this XXL pulse fill into the Bay of Biscay. While it's big, the wind in some parts along that stretch will be good. Check the forecast, here.

    “The north of Morocco is under the influence of that finger of high pressure stretching across the southern North Atlantic, which means light variable winds or light northeast trades, with a large, highly-organised swell, around eight to ten feet later in the afternoon when the swell ramps up.

    “On Friday, Morocco and Portugal will probably be some of the best areas. The peak of the swell arrives in Morocco during Friday, with light northeast trades, particularly in the north. The swell is on the way down in Portugal on Friday, but still up to ten feet at exposed spots (much bigger at Nazaré of course), and conditions improve as the day goes on, with light north then northeast winds.”

    Check the cams for Nazare | Mundaka | Supertubos | and keep it right here as we bring you updates throughout – and all the action of course!